Durban, South Africa—The 17th conference of the parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change pulled back from the brink of collapse at around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Briefly, agreement between the negotiators from nearly 200 countries was achieved by adopting a formula that launches a process that commits the UNFCCC to negotiating a protocol, another legal instrument or an "agreed outcome with legal force." This "roadmap" is supposed to lead to an agreement by 2015 which would be in force by 2020. The agreement will supposedly for the first time require all countries, rich and poor, to restrict in some way their greenhouse gas emissions.
In exchange for an agreement to this roadmap, the European Union graciously consented to keeping the Kyoto Protocol alive by imposing for the next five years further restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions on its citizens.
The climate negotiators also agreed to launch the Green Climate Fund which will redistribute aid from rich country taxpayers to poor country governments with the goal of helping poor countries cope with climate change. At the Copenhagen and Cancun climate conferences, rich countries promised to suppy $100 billion in climate aid annually by 2020. However, how much of the $100 billion would flow through the Green Climate Fund is still not decided and how the Fund will be financed is also not decided.
More analysis later.