Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that UN climate talks in Doha have closed, with a historic shift in principle agreed to by nearly 200 nations, extending the Kyoto Protocol through 2020 and establishing for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change. Until now rich nations have agreed to help developing countries to get clean energy and adapt to climate change, but they have stopped short of accepting responsibility for damage caused by climate change elsewhere. 'It is a breakthrough,' says Martin Khor of the South Center — an association of 52 developing nations. 'The term Loss and Damage is in the text — this is a huge step in principle. Next comes the fight for cash.' U.S. negotiators made certain that neither the word 'compensation,' nor any other term connoting legal liability, was used, to avoid opening the floodgates to litigation – instead, the money will be judged as aid. Ronny Jumea, from the Seychelles, told rich nations earlier that discussion of compensation would not have been needed if they had cut emissions earlier. 'We're past the mitigation [emissions cuts] and adaptation eras. We're now right into the era of loss and damage. What's next after that? Destruction?' While the United States has not adopted a comprehensive approach to climate change, the Obama administration has put in place a significant auto emissions reduction program and a plan to regulate carbon dioxide from new power plants. 'What this meeting reinforced is that while this is an important forum, it is not the only one in which progress can and must be made,' says Jennifer Haverkamp, director of the international climate programs at the Environmental Defense Fund. The disconnect between the level of ambition the parties are showing here and what needs to happen to avoid dangerous climate change is profound.'"
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