Green attachés give COP17 thumbs up

Members of the Green Embassy Network – London’s loose affiliation of green attachés and facilities managers who are aspiring to reduce the diplomatic quarter’s carbon footprint – are cautiously optimistic about the outcome concluded at the recent Conference on Climate Change in Durban.

Hailing the eleventh-hour agreement as a success, one EU green attaché commented that the deal – which saw the adoption of a roadmap (the ‘Durban Platform’) towards a global agreement in 2015 – marked “the first step towards a global deal with commitment from all emitters.”

A diplomat from Latin America, who was involved in the negotiations, also felt the outcome was a success, but qualified it by saying that “reaching a broader catchment means that ambition had to be relaxed”.

Whatever form the final agreements take at COP21 in 2015, he added, “the crucial thing is that they will be applicable to all Parties, bearing in mind the elements of the convention that will treat developing countries in a differentiated manner, according to their capabilities.”

A diplomat from a small Pacific island said he was hopeful that the future agreement, which aims to capture upwards of 80 per cent of emissions, was ambitious enough to restrict global temparture rises down to 2 degrees centigrade.

A seasoned negotiator, he said: “The small nations can only hope that the large emitters will hear our voices. But the devil will be in the detail.”

Responding to the outcome, Foreign Office Minister responsible for Climate Change Henry Bellingham said: “The outcome at Durban has exceeded the expectations of many. We have a renewed commitment to tackling climate change through international law, and to helping the poorest countries respond.”