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Assessing the Outcomes of COP 17

IISD’s Climate Change and Energy team assessed the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) held in Durban, South Africa November 28 to December 11, 2011. COP 17 illustrated that there is a clear trade-off between the level of ambition and the inclusivity and robustness of a future agreement. To get countries like the U.S., China and India into the global mitigation tent, the agreements reached in Durban had to reflect a broad range of interests and be designed in a way that provided some flexibility, particularly for major emitters. The negotiations made it painfully clear that many entrenched divisions remain among key actors on critical issues. Nonetheless, the outcomes in Durban are a step forward in establishing an international agreement beyond Kyoto—one with mitigation commitments from all major emitters, including developed countries and several major developing countries.

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