Non-binding accord limits temperature rises but includes no emissions targets
Saturday 19 December 2009 10.54 EST
The UN climate summit in Copenhagen has formally closed with a deal many countries admit falls far short of the action needed to tackle global warming.
The non-binding accord, which the US reached with key nations including China and Brazil, “recognises” the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C but does not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal.
US officials spun the deal as a “meaningful agreement” but even Barack Obama said: “This progress is not enough.
“We have come a long way, but we have much further to go.”
It is up to national parliaments to adopt the accord, after which signatories will be obliged to take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and start preparing to help poor countries adapt to climate change. The intention is for a full legal agreement to be signed within a year.
Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, said the agreement was a “vital first step” and accepted there was a lot more work to do to get assurances it would become a legally binding agreement. He declined to call it a “historic” conference. “This is the first step we are taking towards a green and low-carbon future for the world, steps we are taking together. But like all first steps, the steps are difficult and they are hard.