For anyone following the climate change talks in Durban South Africa, there hasn’t been a lot of good news. It was looking pretty likely that no deal would be reached. the Kyoto Protocols would lapse, and there would be no international framework at all to deal with global warming and its causes.

There’s been a last minute reprieve.

Countries have agreed a deal in Durban to push for a new climate treaty, salvaging the latest round of United Nations climate talks from the brink of collapse.

The UK’s cimate change secretary, Chris Huhne, hailed the deal, finally struck in the early hours of Sunday after talks had overrun by a day and a half, as a “significant step forward” that would deliver a global, overarching legal agreement to cut emissions. He said it sent a strong signal to businesses and investors about moving to a low-carbon economy.

This is really only a framework to set standards that will have to be met by 2020. The big stepm is it will be legally binding on countries big and small, developed and undeveloped. That’s sure to cause some dissension, but at least there’s a standard to dispute. It looked an awful lot like we wouldn’t evn have that, and there would be no worldwide effort to deal with greenhouse gas emissions at all, and the future would have been pushed closer to the worst-case predictions.