Instant View: U.N. climate talks reach modest deal

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:22am EST

(Reuters) - Negotiators at U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, reached a deal that for the first time would bring all major emitters into international efforts to limit global warming, but which environmentalists said did not go far enough.

Following is reaction from key players and observers.

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, UNFCCC EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

"I salute the countries who made this agreement. They have all laid aside some cherished objectives of their own to meet a common purpose, a long-term solution to climate change."

CHRIS HUHNE, UK ENERGY AND CLIMATE SECRETARY

"This is a great success for European diplomacy. We've managed to bring the major emitters like the U.S., India and China into a roadmap which will secure an overarching global deal."

JENNIFER MORGAN, DIRECTOR AT WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

"Countries pushed ahead with the implementation of the Cancun Agreements. Most notably, they agreed to make the Green Climate Fund operational, and set up a work plan to mobilize significant climate funds from both private and public sources. Currently, however, the funding level is insufficient to meet the commitments."

CONNIE HEDEGAARD, EU CLIMATE COMMISSIONER

"We think that we had the right strategy, we think that it worked. The big thing is that now all big economies, all parties have to commit in the future in a legal way and that's what we came here for."

TOSI MPANU-MPANU, HEAD OF AFRICA GROUP

"It's a middle ground, we meet mid-way. Of course we are not completely happy about the outcome, it lacks balance, but we believe it is starting to go into the right direction."

SAMANTHA SMITH, ENERGY AND CLIMATE INITIATIVE LEADER AT WWF

"Unfortunately, governments here have spent the last two crucial final days of negotiations focused on only a handful of specific words in the negotiating texts, instead of spending their political capital on committing to more and real action to address climate change. The bottom line is that governments got practically nothing done here and that's unacceptable."

KUMI NAIDOO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL

Right now the global climate regime amounts to nothing more than a voluntary deal that's put off for a decade. This could take us over the two degree threshold where we pass from danger to potential catastrophe

UNITED STATES CLIMATE ENVOY TODD STERN

"In the end, it ended up quite well. The (Durban platform) is the piece that was the matching piece with the Kyoto Protocol. We got the kind of symmetry that we had been focused on since the beginning of the Obama administration. This had all the elements that we were looking for."

BRAZIL AMBASSADOR LUIZ ALBERTO FIGUEIREDO

"I am relieved we have what we came here to get. We have a robust outcome, an excellent text about a new phase in the international fight against climate change. It clearly points to action."

SELWIN HART, CHIEF NEGOTIATOR ON FINANCE FOR SMALL ISLAND

STATES

"I would have wanted to get more, but at least we have something to work with. All is not lost yet."

ALDEN MEYER, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS

"There is some hard bargaining ahead to get a treaty by 2015. It will be particularly tough for the U.S., which isn't doing its fair share of emissions cuts and scaling up finance. The politics on that aren't very promising given two members of the Republican party are in complete denial."

JENNIFER HAVERKAMP, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND

"The challenge is that we begin the talks from the lowest common denominator of every party's aspirations. For this effort to be successful, countries need to be ambitious in their commitments and to refuse to use these negotiations as just another stalling tool."

(Reporting by Nina Chestney, Agnieszka Flak, Jon Herskovitz, Barbara Lewis)

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