File photo: There was also a noticeable decline of trust in institutions, fears of a lack of leadership and growing concern about novel forms of pollution or accidents linked to new technologies.

Johannesburg - The interests of profit-hungry and polluting corporations have won at the recent United Nations climate talks, Greenpeace said on Sunday.

“Polluters won, people lost,” said Greenpeace International's executive director Kumi Naidoo in a statement.

“Our governments this past two weeks listened to the carbon-intensive polluting corporations instead of listening to the people who want an end to our dependence on fossil fuels and real and immediate action on climate change,” said Naidoo.

Earlier on Sunday, SA Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane expressed satisfaction at the outcomes reached at the 17th United Nations Conference of Parties (Cop17) talks on climate change.

The climate change talks ended in Durban this weekend after 14 days of deliberation.

Nkoane-Mashabane said talks 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.

Naidoo criticised the fact that the next treaty on climate change matters would only be implemented in 2020.

“Right now the global climate regime amounts to nothing more than a voluntary deal that’s put off for a decade.”

Christian Aid spokesman Mohamed Adow also said the delay in implementation was unacceptable.

“Action against climate change in 2020 will come a decade too late for poor people on the front-line - they urgently need it now.

“Their lives are already ravaged by floods, droughts, failed rains, deadly storms, hunger and disease and we know that these disasters will get worse and more frequent as climate change bites.

Adow said the only “notable achievement” of the Durban talks was the agreement reached that the green climate fund - designed to assist developing countries combat global warming - would soon have staff and an office.

However, money was still needed to get this fund going.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said a “new spirit of compromise” was evident between the countries represented at the talks.

IUCN environment and development director Stewart Maginnis said that developing countries should look at measures to combat global warming that were based on an understanding of eco-systems.

“Improving the management of river systems, coastal ecosystems, coral reefs, mangroves and forests, and dryland systems can conserve carbon and improve the resilience of communities to deal with both the sudden and long-term consequences of climate change.”

Meanwhile, the Independent Democrats praised the fact that there had been moves towards establishing a global binding treaty on specific emission reductions.

However, ID chief whip Lance Greyling said that the world should not become complacent.

“The global stalemate has tentatively been broken, but in order to ensure progress, developed countries need to show that they are determined to make this work,” he said. - Sapa