South African international foreign affairs minister and chair of COP17 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Photo: AFP

Durban saw the usual suspects lining up on opposite sides of the fence, India and China on the one side and the developed world on the other, with the smaller nations looking on in some frustration. The world’s biggest emerging economies wanted the accord worded in language that would be less constricting than the text the developed countries were pressing for. Still, countries are committed to carbon emission cuts and there’s a defined path to a deal on this in 2015, which will come into effect five years later. So long as everybody’s still talking to each other that