A UN climate conference agreed Saturday to extend Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that limits greenhouse gas output of some rich countries but would only cover about 15 per cent of global emissions.
The extension was adopted by nearly 200 countries after hard-fought sessions and despite objections from Russia. The package of decisions also included vague promises of financing to help poor countries cope with climate change.
Though expectations were low for the two-week conference in Doha, many developing countries rejected the deal as insufficient to put the world on track to fight the rising temperatures that are raising sea levels. Some Pacific island nations see this as a threat to their existence.
“This is...not where we need to be in order to prevent islands from going under and other unimaginable impacts.” said Nauru Foreign Minister Kieren Keke, who leads an alliance of small island states.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which controls greenhouse gas emissions of rich countries, expires this year. It was extended through 2020 until a wider global treaty is expected to take effect.
However, the second phase only covers about 15 per cent of global emissions after Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Russia opted out.
The US never joined Kyoto, partly as it didn’t include China and other fast-growing developing countries.