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By Dr. Erika Podest,
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
From the UN conference on climate change, Durban, South Africa
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It is not until the eleventh hour — on Sunday at 6:00 am — that negotiations come to a close. An agreement has been made to develop a roadmap towards a new legally binding treaty by 2015, which would come into force in 2020. In addition, the decision has been made to adopt a second commitment period on the Kyoto Protocol — the only global pact that enforces carbon cuts — producing a five-to-seven-year extension of the current protocol, which was set to expire in 2012.
In addition, the “Green Climate Fund” was launched, which is intended to channel money to developing countries to help with their mitigation and adaptation efforts. However, it is unclear where the funding will come from. A second factor that is important to developing countries is technology transfer, ...