Durban Conference: 'Political Realignment' Key To Climate Deal, Says Huhne

Durban Conference Chris Huhne

First Posted: 12/12/11 22:03 Updated: 12/12/11 22:10   PA

A "political realignment" among the world's nations was hailed by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne as one of the main reasons behind a breakthrough in climate change negotiations.

The deal, which was finally agreed as UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, overran by almost 36 hours, commits all countries - including major polluters the US and China - to negotiate a legally enforceable treaty on cutting emissions by 2015.

Updating the Commons on the talks, Mr Huhne said the support of African and Latin American states was a key factor and provided a foundation for future progress.

In a thinly veiled reference to Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to veto a new European Union treaty, Mr Huhne stressed the importance of the alliance.

"The UK operated within and through the European Union delegation, co-operating closely with representatives of other member states and the European Commission.

"By working together with our European partners we were able to deliver more effectively for the British national interest and for our shared ambition," he said.

Setting out the new coalition formed in favour of action, he said: "The Durban conference saw a highly significant political realignment.

"More than 120 countries formed a coalition of high ambition in support of a roadmap to a globally legally binding deal.

"Many African and Latin American states, the group of least developed countries and the alliance of small island states joined with the European Union to argue for the roadmap to a new agreement.

"This realignment has laid a firm political foundation, grounded in common interest, on which we can build future achievements."

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Filed by Paul Vale  |