Non-binding Copenhagen climate accord reached

December 19, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The United Nations climate change summit ended last night without a real concrete agreement, though some progress was made. Five countries; the U.S., China, India, Brazil and South Africa, have agreed to list the actions they will take to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by specific amounts and have agreed to a cap on worldwide temperature increases at no more than 2 degrees. But they failed to make a legally-binding treaty. Efforts to gain the full support of the 193 countries bound by the original 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change appear to have failed and they have only promised to ‘take note’ of the non-binding accord negotiated by President Barack Obama. Many nations fought the pact, because it does not include legally binding emission targets for developed countries before the end of 2010. And it does not go far enough to avoid the most severe consequences of global warming.

But Secretary-General Ban said that is enough for the Copenhagen Agreement to have immediate operational effect. Countries now have until February 1 to announce targets for cutting carbon emissions, to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.

“We need to strive for a more binding agreement over time,” Obama said at a press conference after the deal was forged. “The most important thing I think we can do…is to build some trust between the developed and developing countries.”

The president said there was a “fundamental deadlock in perspectives” between big, industrially developed countries like the United States and poorer, though sometimes large, developing nations. The major positive outcome for developing nations is an agreement promising $30 billion in emergency climate aid to poor nations in the next three years and a goal of eventually channeling $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing countries. The United States has committed to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020, and to make deeper cuts, up to 80 percent, by 2050.

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