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|Lukewarm' climate change deal in
The UN climate conference in Copenhagen today approved
a deal to tackle global warming proposed by world leaders, after an
accord Barack Obama brokered with China, India, Brazil and South
But the UN Secretary General today admitted the non-binding
agreement at the conclusion of the conference was not "everything
everyone had hoped for", as he confirmed a deal had finally been
Delegates have agreed to "take note" of the American-led Copenhagen
Accord, despite criticism that there are no long-term targets to cut
emissions and it is not a legally-binding treaty.
Obama had brokered the agreement with China, India, Brazil and South
Africa to tackle global warming, which included a reference to
keeping the global temperature rise to just 2C - but the plan does
not specify greenhouse gas cuts needed to achieve the 2C goal.
Prime minister Gordon Brown said the Accord was a "necessary first
step" but those in opposition to it described it as "weak" and
The document setting out the deal will specify a list of countries
which agreed with it, as some of the 192 nations which have taken
part in the talks are understood not to have accepted it.
In stormy overnight talks Sudan, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and
Bolivia all denounced the plan after about 120 world leaders left
following a summit yesterday.
Sudan’s delegate, Lumumba Di-Aping, said the accord would condemn
Africa to many deaths from global warming and compared it with the
But this morning UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: "We have a
deal" and described the agreement as an "important beginning" in the
fight against climate change. It will allow a provision for $30
billion of climate aid for poorer countries over the next three
years to become operational. There will also be a further $100
billion a year from 2020.
Mr Ban said: "The Copenhagen Accord may not be everything everyone
had hoped for, but this decision...is an important beginning.”
Under the accord, countries will be able to set out their pledges
for the action they plan to take to tackle climate change, in an
appendix to the document, and will provide information to other
nations on their progress.
UK Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, who spent the night in
talks after Gordon Brown had left the conference, said the failure
to secure a stronger agreement showed the difficulty world leaders
faced in tackling climate change.
“I think we would have wanted a more comprehensive agreement, a
legally binding one," he said.
"I think it is good that we have made a start in terms of emissions
cuts people are going to do and, crucially, in terms of finance, but
that does rely on getting the agreement.
“I wanted a stronger agreement. Today’s events show the difficulty
we face. We are dealing with incredibly complex issues and trying to
get 192 countries signed up is not an easy task.”
Further talks are expected at conferences in Germany and Mexico next
year and Mr Obama admitted there was "much further to go".
After leaving the conference, Gordon Brown said he viewed the
agreement as a preliminary move: “This is the first step we are
taking towards a green and low carbon future for the world, steps we
are taking together. First steps are difficult, but they are also
Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, echoed Mr
Brown's comments adding: “This accord is better than no accord. This
is a positive step but it’s clearly below our ambitions.
The agreement, which follows two weeks of high-level debate, has
been roundly criticised by environment campaigners and charities.
Jonathon Porritt, the former chairman of the Government’s
Sustainable Development Commission, told BBC Radio 4's Today
programme: “To call it ’a start’ is trying to put a very brave face
“What we have actually seen over the last two weeks is raw
industrial power at its worst, both on the part of China and the US
and other countries. They have not given an inch in terms of
understanding the needs of some of the poorer countries.”
Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said: “A 2C rise
in temperature would still mean the deaths of millions of people and
the complete destruction of at least four low-lying island states
and asking countries to list their national actions on climate
change is absolutely no substitute for a legally binding
Greenpeace campaigner Joss Garman added: "This latest draft is so
weak as to be meaningless. It’s more like a G8 communiqué than the
legally binding agreement we need.
"It doesn’t even include a timeline to give it legal standing or an
explicit temperature target. It’s hard to imagine our leaders will
try to present this document to the world and keep a straight face."