Support grows for Durban climate deal
By Nina Chestney and Barbara Lewis
DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) - Support grew on Thursday for an EU plan to agree a global climate change pact with binding targets by 2015, after poor nations vulnerable to climate change forged alliances with developed countries.
The European Union said it was encouraged its "road map" to legally binding commitments by 2015 to cut greenhouse gas emissions was gaining traction at the talks, which are due to wrap up in the South African port of Durban on Friday.
U.S. climate change envoy Todd Stern said Washington supported an EU roadmap to a new treaty, and Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent said Ottawa had forged a partnership with small island states which could be swamped by the rising sea levels caused by global warming.
"We're not setting a hard target on this date...(but) 2015 would be a reasonable target to set to pull together any new climate change regime," Peter Kent told reporters.
"If we can reach one before 2015, that would be good, if it takes somewhat longer, that would be fine...but we can't leave Durban without a firm agreement," he said.
Days earlier Kent had said that the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding accord on reducing carbon emissions, was "in the past".
With the EU pact gaining momentum, pressure could shift to the developing world's biggest polluters -- China and India -- to come on board.
A group of 48 of the least developed countries said it now backed the European plan for a firm timetable, joining African nations and 43 small island states. Continued...