x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Obama clinches 'meaningful agreement' at Copenhagen

The US president reaches an agreement with major developing powers on a climate deal, but US officials say the accord was only a first step.

The US president Barack Obama overcame earlier tensions with the Chinese leadership to secure a multi-nation agreement.
The US president Barack Obama overcame earlier tensions with the Chinese leadership to secure a multi-nation agreement.

A US official said president Barack Obama, China's premier Wen Jiabao, Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and South Africa's president Jacob Zuma had reached a "meaningful agreement." The settlement came after a day of deep divisions between leaders of rich and developing nations. Brazil also approved the deal that appeared to bypass other participants at UN-led climate talks in Copenhagen. The accord did not have guaranteed approval from all 193 nations. Noticeably, EU nations were absent from the meeting. Tensions between China and the United States, the world's two biggest emitters, had been particularly acute after Mr Obama - in a message directed at the Chinese - said any deal to cut emissions would be "empty words on a page" unless it was transparent and accountable. Negotiators struggled all day to find a compromise acceptable to all 193 countries which could avert the threat of dangerous climate change, including floods, droughts, rising sea levels and species extinctions. A draft text under discussion on Friday included US$100 billion (Dh367bn) in climate aid annually by 2020 for poor countries to combat climate change, and targets to limit warming and halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But it abandoned earlier ambitions for any deal in Copenhagen to be turned into a legally binding treaty next year. "Today, following a multilateral meeting between President Obama, Premier Wen, Prime Minister Singh, and President Zuma a meaningful agreement was reached," the US official said. "It is not sufficient to combat the threat of climate change but it is an important first step." "No country is entirely satisfied with each element but this is a meaningful and historic step forward and a foundation from which to make further progress," the official added. Under the five-nation agreement, rich and poor nations had agreed to a "finance mechanism," emissions cuts to curb global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, and "to provide information on the implementation of their actions." * Reuters