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Cancun Talks Approve New Plan To Combat Climate Change


A climate change activist wears a polar bear costume
The world's governments have approved a plan to combat climate change, including a new fund to help poor nations address global warming.

But the deal, agreed at a UN-hosted summit in Mexico, puts off many of the hard decisions until 2011.

More than 190 counties adopted the new plan following two weeks of tense negotiations in Cancun, Mexico.

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa formally approved the deal at extended overnight talks, overruling Bolivia's objections that the plan lacked teeth.

"I take note, of course, of your position and it will gladly be reflected in the acts of this conference. If there is no other opinion, this text is approved," Espinosa said.

The deal provides for the creation of a Green Climate Fund aimed at helping poor nations address global warming, although it is unclear where the funding will come from.

It agrees on measures to protect tropical forests and share climate-friendly energy technologies. It also renews pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but set no new targets for industrial countries.

The new agreement, however, does not include a commitment to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges almost 40 developed nations to cut emissions, after it expires in 2012.

The agreement nonetheless restores some faith in UN-led climate negotiations after last year's summit in Copenhagen ended without a binding treaty.

Delegates in Cancun agreed it was imperfect but said it struck a skillful compromise between rich and poor nations, whose dispute over the future of the UN's Kyoto Protocol had threatened to derail the talks.

The accord, despite putting off some of the hardest decisions until the 2011 conference in South Africa, was welcomed by environmental groups.

Speaking to Reuters in Cancun, Greenpeace told Reuters the deal went "beyond what we expected when we came here."

compiled from agency reports