12 Dec 2011

Deadline for climate deal criticised as too distant

8:23 am on 12 December 2011

Groups fighting climate change say a deal reached at the United Nations climate conference in South Africa could be too little too late.

About 200 nations have agreed to be part of a treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For the first time all countries, including the three biggest carbon emitters - China, India and the United States - will be part of an agreement to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol, must be negotiated by 2015 and implemented by 2020.

The New Zealand branch of the Worldwide Fund For Nature says the timing of the deal means it's unlikely to prevent the two degree increase in the world's temperature that the conference sought to tackle.

It says the 2020 deadline is so distant, the deal amounts to collective procrastination.

Oxfam New Zealand says while political progress was made in Durban, the conference has done nothing to arrest the impact climate change is already having on the world's poorest nations.

Those countries include New Zealand's Pacific neighbours.