The Kyoto Protocol was saved by the last minute agreement reached by parties at the COP17 conference in Durban, water and environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa said in Pretoria on Monday.
Molewa hailed the Durban agreement and said South Africa's hosting of the conference was a success.
“We have been able to preserve the multiple rules based system underpinning the mitigation regime by agreeing on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.”
Molewa “recognised” the United States was not a part of the Kyoto Protocol and that not all countries had committed themselves to a second period of committing to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The 17th United Nations Conference of Parties (Cop17) talks on climate change ended in Durban this weekend after 14 days of deliberation.
Molewa said countries had moved from their previously entrenched negotiating positions.
“We realised in Durban that given the current social, developmental, economic and political context, trying to force countries to do more than they are willing and able to contribute is a recipe for the complete failure of the international effort to genuinely address climate crisis and would have resulted in a no deal in Durban, not only killing the Kyoto Protocol but possibly even the UN Convention on climate change itself.”
International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Sunday that the talks had yielded a roadmap aimed at enforcing a legal framework to enforce carbon emission cuts from major greenhouse gas emitters.
An ad-hoc committee would now work towards drafting a new universal legal agreement on climate change to be approved by no later than 2015.
The agreement would then be enforced by 2020.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement reached in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, to address the problems of climate change. The Kyoto Protocol commits 38 industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. - Sapa