By CORAL DAVENPORTDEC. 14, 2014
Representatives applauded at the approval of an agreement reached in Lima, Peru, on Sunday to reduce the global rate of greenhouse gas emissions. Credit Cris Bouroncle/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
LIMA, Peru — Negotiators from around the globe reached a climate change agreement early Sunday that would, for the first time in history, commit every nation to reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions — yet would still fall far short of what is needed to stave off the dangerous and costly early impact of global warming.
The agreement reached by delegates from 196 countries establishes a framework for a climate change accord to be signed by world leaders in Paris next year. While United Nations officials had been scheduled to release the plan on Friday at noon, longstanding divisions between rich and poor countries kept them wrangling through Friday and Saturday nights to early Sunday.
The agreement requires every nation to put forward, over the next six months, a detailed domestic policy plan to limit its emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from burning coal, gas and oil. Those plans, which would be published on a United Nations website, would form the basis of the accord to be signed next December and enacted by 2020.
That basic structure represents a breakthrough in the impasse that has plagued the United Nations’ 20 years of efforts to create a serious global warming deal. Until now, negotiations had followed a divide put in place by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required developed countries to act but did not demand anything of developing nations, including China and India, two of the largest greenhouse gas polluters.
“This emerging agreement represents a new form of international cooperation that includes all countries,” said Jennifer Morgan, an expert on international climate negotiations with the World Resources Institute, a research organization.
“A global agreement in Paris is now within reach,” she said.