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Copenhagen Conference 'Takes Note' Of Climate Deal


U.S. President Barack Obama takes part in a multilateral meeting in Copenhagen on December 18.

U.S. President Barack Obama takes part in a multilateral meeting in Copenhagen on December 18.

(RFE/RL) -- The UN conference in Copenhagen has formally acknowledged a new U.S.-led accord for combating global warming, despite opposition from several nations.

"The conference of the parties takes note of the Copenhagen Accord," said a final decision at the 193-nation talks that stopped short of endorsing the deal.

A number of countries had spoken against the U.S.-brokered plan. The decision will list the countries that were in favor of the deal and those against.

The agreement backs a call by scientists to limit global warming to within 2 degrees Centigrade against pre-industrial levels.

Obama speaks during a plenary session at climate conference on December 18.
But it contains no improved targets on greenhouse gas emissions from rich nations and does not commit anyone to legally binding cuts.

For any deal to become a UN pact, it would need to be adopted unanimously at the 193-nation talks.

A member of the U.S. nongovernmental organization The Union of Concerned Scientists, Alden Meyer, is quoted as saying that the accord nonetheless "gives enough legal status to become operational but without needing the parties' approval."

The acknowledgement of the Copenhagen Accord follows reported chaos at the meeting one day after the United States, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa forged the nonbinding agreement to combat global warming.

Several countries, including Bolivia, Venezuela, and Sudan, had slammed the pact as too weak and unfairly worked out among major powers.

Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, described the accord as "the worst development in climate change negotiations in history."

"I say this because a gross violation -- gross violations -- have been committed today, against the hope, against tradition of transparency and participation on equal footing by all nations and parties to the convention and against common sense because the architecture of this deal is extraordinarily flawed," Di-Aping said.

'Meaningful Breakthrough'

His comments came after U.S. President Barack Obama told the conference that a "meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough" had been achieved.

The deal calls for wealthy countries to provide around $30 billion to developing countries by 2012 to help them cope with climate change.

Obama called the pact significant but acknowledged there was "much further to go" to complete a global pact.

"This progress did not come easily, and we know that this progress alone is not enough," Obama said. "Going forward, we're going to have to build on the momentum that we've established here in Copenhagen to ensure that international action to significantly reduce emissions is sustained and sufficient over time. We've come a long way, but we have much further to go."

The accord was also criticized by some of the environmental activists attending the Copenhagen summit.

Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, described the deal as a "cover-up for the Obama administration."

"It's not going to save the planet. It's an agreement -- nonbinding targets, weak targets, weak financing," Pica said. "It actually speaks to the failure of the negotiations that were here.

"We were meant to have a global deal to solve the climate crisis, one that was just and equitable. And what this agreement is is just something for the United States to take home and say we accomplished something."

The European Union has offered its backing to the agreement, though EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso said he regretted that the pact is not legally binding.

More climate talks are expected next year.

with agency reports
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