UPDATE 5-Doha climate talks throw lifeline to Kyoto Protocol

Sat Dec 8, 2012 2:18pm EST
 

* Talks agree eight-year extension to protocol

* Many nations, environmentalists cool to Doha deal

* No major emissions goals set at Doha talks

By Regan Doherty and Barbara Lewis

DOHA, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Almost 200 nations extended a weakened United Nations plan for combating global warming until 2020 on Saturday with a modest set of measures that would do nothing to halt rising world greenhouse gas emissions.

Many countries and environmentalists said the deal at the end of marathon two-week U.N. talks in OPEC-member Qatar would fail to slow rising temperatures or avert more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

Environment ministers extended until 2020 the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges about 35 industrialised nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions until the end of 2012. That keeps the pact alive as the sole legally binding climate plan.

But the 1997 treaty, 23 days away from expiry, has been sapped by the withdrawal of Russia, Japan and Canada and its remaining backers, led by the European Union and Australia, now account for just 15 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions.

"Much, much more is needed if we are really going to address climate change and reduce emissions," said Kieren Keke, foreign minister of the Pacific island state of Nauru on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States.   Continued...