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UN Climate Talks Extend Kyoto; Deal for Damage Aid

Nations at the United Nations climate talks in Doha have agreed to extend pollution limits under the Kyoto Protocol to 2020, and a handful of countries, not including the United States, have taken on new carbon-cutting targets and made concrete financial pledges for climate change adaptation aid to poorer nations.

By agreeing to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which now covers about 15 percent of emissions worldwide, the framework of international law has been preserved and rules on accounting for emissions and trading between countries has been retained, reported the Guardian.

The EU, Australia, Norway and a handful of other developed countries agreed to take on new carbon-cutting targets under the treaty, running to 2020. The EU also promised $10.7 billion by 2015 in climate aid.

Poor nations also won historic recognition of the struggles they face from climate change, securing a pledge from rich countries to work on a mechanism that would pay for “loss and damage” from drought and rising sea levels, the Guardian reported.

However, the pledges from developed countries stopped short of admitting legal liability or the need to pay compensation. Negotiators for the US, which had strongly opposed the loss and damage proposals, made sure the word “compensation” or any other term implying legal liability was not used, reported the Guardian.

Issues about whether funds for loss and damage would come from humanitarian aid and disaster relief budgets and how to determine damage caused by climate change will be tackled at next year’s climate conference in Warsaw, Poland.

The climate talks in Doha, Qatar, a gathering that included more than 190 nations and some 17,000 delegates, was regarded largely as a session to tie up loose ends from parallel sets of discussions and focus on agreeing a new treaty by 2015, to cut greenhouse gases by 2020, reported Bloomberg.

The delegates closed the parallel strands of talks, the biggest change to the process since 2007, a move that will simplify the drafting of a more stringent worldwide treaty on greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite the accomplishment, delegates and environmental groups expressed frustration the pact won’t have an immediate impact on limiting emissions.

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