U.S. President Barack Obama says the climate-change accord that he
helped negotiate in Copenhagen is a "breakthrough" in attempts to
control global warming, but is still "not enough."
Back in Washington from his trip to the U.N.-sponsored meeting in Denmark, Mr. Obama said (Saturday)
the world needs to "build on the momentum" of the new accord. He
pledged to step up development of the "clean-energy economy" in the
United States, which he said has dual environmental and economic
Environmentalists and less-developed nations criticized parts of the
Copenhagen accord and gave it only weak support. U.N. Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon acknowledged that a lot of work is yet to be done, but he
hailed the compromise effort as a definite step forward.
Delegates at the Copenhagen conference agreed only to "take note" of
the non-binding accord - a verdict that falls short of full
The accord was the product of marathon negotiations by Mr. Obama and
leaders from four nations with a key role in the climate-change
meetings: China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
The accord says greenhouse-gases and other emissions by all nations
must be reduced enough to prevent average global temperatures - the key
index of global warming - from rising more than 2 degrees celsius over
temperatures from the pre-industrial era. However, it does not set
specific emissions guidelines for achieving that goal.
At present, average annual temperatures worldwide are 0.7 degrees
celsius above preindustrial levels, and many scientists contend the
world is on course to exceed the 2-degree target limit by nearly 100
percent (3.9 degrees) during this century.
The Copenhagen accord also commits rich nations to contribute $30
billion to a fund to help developing nations curb their emissions over
the next three years. They set a goal of increasing funding up to $100
billion by 2020.
The agreement that Mr. Obama and other leaders announced late Friday
was reached in the final session of a two-week conference plagued by
disagreements between rich and poor countries over emissions targets
Delegates from the tiny Pacific island nation Tuvalu and several Latin
American nations said the agreement was insufficient, and they
complained that the final negotiations excluded many countries.
In a controversial comment criticized by many at the conference, a
representative from Sudan likened the deal to the Holocaust, saying
that unless stronger steps are taken to reduce global warming, many
Africans will die.