4 Dec 2011

Protests at climate change summit in Durban

9:34 pm on 4 December 2011

Thousands of demonstrators demanding faster action on climate change have marched through Durban in South Africa.

The city is hosting the annual UN climate summit and protesters are particularly angered by the stance of rich countries, such as the United States and Canada.

Halfway through this summit, some progress has been made, but a few countries including the US, Canada and Saudi Arabia are holding out on important issues such as the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

The European Union wants talks on a new global agreement covering all nations to start as soon as possible.

It is backed by most of the world's poorest countries and small island states vulnerable to rising sea levels.

But even if resistance from the US and others can be overcome, the BBC reports it is hard to envisage anything being agreed that can start to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions before 2020.

And that is the timeframe science suggests is necessary if the most dangerous climate impacts are to be avoided.