UN climate change talks have ended in Durban with agreement to force all the world’s biggest polluters to take action to slow the pace of global warming.
It follows years of failed attempts to impose legally binding cuts on developing giants such as China and India.
The tortuous negotiations in South Africa were extended to allow more time to bang some reluctant heads together.
“Of course, as you know, we were not happy with reopening the text, but in the spirit of flexibility and accomodation we agreed to adopt it,” said Indian Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.
Talks ran 36 hours longer than they were supposed to. There is confusion over the detail, but a deal seems to have been struck on the next steps. A road map has been set out, with talks beginning next year on a new legal deal to come into effect by 2020.
“If we get this, will be a very historic moment for the world. And especially for Africa, for that to happen on Africa’s soil, to get something that is legally binding upon all countries,” said Grenada’s Foreign Minister Karl Hood.
Developing countries are said to have secured agreement by the EU to place its current pledges on cutting emissions inside the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol.
Meanwhile a framework for a fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change has also reportedly been agreed.