Time is running out and tempers are boiling over. Supporters of South African President Jacob Zuma have clashed with environmental activists criticising his policies as hopes of a global climate deal fade fast.
The scuffles happened during a meeting on the sidelines involving Zuma as the Durban climate change conference draws to a close.
Amid heckling at his speech, US envoy Todd Stern denied Washington was delaying, insisting it backed an EU roadmap for progress.
But frustration is growing. There is just one day left for countries to commit to signing up to an internationally binding climate deal by 2015 at the latest.
“This year we already announced that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was reaching record level,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation. “What is clear is that we are already in a very, very challenging situation to stay under two degrees (of warming). So the more commitments are delayed, the more difficult it will be to meet these targets”.
The EU is willing to sign up to an updated Kyoto Protocol. But it wants all major polluters including the US and China to commit too, submitting their own emissions to international curbs.