Denmark's climate minister, Martin Lidegaard (Radikale), welcomed the outcome of the UN COP18 climate conference in Doha, which concluded on Saturday with an agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol until 2020, at which point a new binding agreement would come into force.
It was also agreed that the 2014 climate conference would work towards finding ways to make more ambitious global emission reductions part of the 2020 deal, with the aim to keep warming within two degrees of current levels.
“It’s vital that we soon make decisions that ensure we keep our political promises,” Lidegaard stated in a press release. “That is why I am pleased that the climate conference in 2014 will deal with how to limit carbon emissions in the near future by, for example, increasing energy efficiency and removing state subsidies for fossil fuels.”
Extending the Kyoto Protocol, which was due to expire in the new year, was vital to maintaining the legal framework for binding emissions commitments before a new deal begins in 2020.
The new deal, which is hoped to be agreed upon by 2015, will create legally binding commitments for all countries, not just developed countries, as is currently the case with the Kyoto Protocol.
Such a commitment is vital, as only the EU countries, along with Australia, Switzerland and Norway have currently joined Kyoto’s second period, accounting for less than 16 percent of global emissions.
Following the conference, EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard stressed the importance of creating binding emissions targets for large emitters such as China and South Korea, which are currently exempt.
"In Doha, we have crossed the bridge from the old climate regime to the new system,” Hedegaard said in a press release. “We are now on our way to the 2015 global deal. It was not an easy and comfortable ride. It was not a very fast ride either. But we have managed to cross the bridge. Very intense negotiations lie ahead of us. What we need now is more ambition and more speed."
Lidegaard was disappointed that more money was not pledged to invest in 'climate friendly' infrastructure in developing countries, such as low-carbon and energy efficient technology.
Lidegaard had hoped that an approximate total of 700 billion kroner would be committed at the conference, following Denmark’s increased commitment of 500 million kroner for 2013.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t find more money for developing countries," Lidegaard said. "We only barely made the goal with this deal. It’s not ambitious.”