SUNDAY 11 DECEMBER
Success—It was well after sunrise in Durban—after 5 a.m.—that the Conference President Maite koana-Mashabane, brought the gavel down on the last of the decisions that make up the “Durban Platform,” to the relief of the remaining bleary-eyed participants. Putting the package together was not without problems, as country after country spent time outlining perceived problems, some big, some small, with the various texts. But the deal was that everything was a package—an agreement on a new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, the launch of the Green Climate Fund, a pathway to a legally binding instrument, and the implementation of the Cancun Agreements.
Trouble—A fierce debate broke out when the European Union, which has been the major proponent for a new process to reach a legally binding treaty by 2015 that would go into force by 2020, suggested that it had a problem with three possible terms to describe the objective—either protocol, legally binding instrument, or legal outcome. But India would not budge, stating that it had made compromise after compromise, but it would not give up its principles in Durban. So the President called on the EU and India to “huddle” and what ensued was an enormous huddle, which, after twenty minutes of raucous debate, resulted in the phrase “outcome with legal force” instead of legal outcome.