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World Leaders Defend Climate Accord

German Chancellor says outcome is first step

World Leaders Defend Climate Accord
World Leaders Defend Climate Accord

World leaders are defending the outcome of the U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen, despite the absence of any clear deals on emissions targets.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper the outcome is the first step toward a new world climate order, nothing more but also nothing less.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the accord is a positive step forward in recognizing different responsibilities between emerging and rich nations.  Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the leaders took a "wholehearted stance" to save the earth and protect its children.

The Copenhagen accord was approved Saturday after marathon negotiations by the United States, 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 two degrees Celsius.  However, it does not set specific emissions guidelines for achieving that goal.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged that a lot of work is yet to be done.  But he hailed the compromise effort, saying it was a significant step forward in negotiations for the first truly global agreement on dealing with climate change.

China and the United States are the world's biggest contributors to global warming.  U.S. President Barack Obama called the accord a "breakthrough" in attempts to control global warming, but he said it still "not enough."

Environmentalists and less-developed nations criticized parts of the Copenhagen accord and gave it only weak support. 

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 also set a goal of increasing funding up to $100 billion by 2020.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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