Delegates at the UN-sponsored climate change conference in Bali agreed on Saturday on a plan to negotiate a new treaty on global warming by 2009, with nations to ratify it by 2012.
The head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change called the agreement "the Berlin Wall of climate change." Yvo de Boer said the so-called "Bali Road Map" tears down the years-long divide between rich nations and developing ones on burdens that each should bear to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Under US pressure, the Bali agreement did not set a specific target for rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The European Union and most of the participating nations had supported such a goal.
Environmental groups such as Greenpeace International have criticized the idea of voluntary cuts proposed for developed nations.
Developing countries are urged to meet what the road map calls "measurable, reportable and verifiable" actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The US delegation raised a last-minute objection to a demand for rich nations to finance clean technologies for poor and developing nations. But US chief negotiator Paula Dobriansky quickly reversed herself amid loud protests from other delegates.
The "road map" lays out a series of meetings beginning next year to negotiate a treaty on emission cuts, with plans to have all nations ratify the new treaty by 2012 -- the same year the current Kyoto Protocol on global warming expires.
The plan also suggests possible financial support to developing countries to stop or slow deforestation -- blamed for as much as 20 percent of human-made carbon dioxide emissions.
This Bali deal was announced after two weeks of intense talks among 190 participating nations. The agreement was reached after a personal appeal by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, requires rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by five percent compared to 1990 levels.