Critics say last-minute Lima climate deal is watered-down

"As a text it's not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties," Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said.

By Brooks Hays

LIMA, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- World delegates at the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru, finally reached a deal for tackling climate change, after negotiations dragged on for an extra two days.

Environmental groups have been quick to label the agreement weak and watered-down.


The deal is essentially an agreement to come to a more significant agreement next year. It lays out a framework for each nation to outline domestic plans in the new year for reducing their carbon emissions, paving the way for a more comprehensive global pact at the 2015 climate summit in Paris.

"As a text it's not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties," Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the Peruvian environment minister who presided over negotiations, told reporters.

The climate talks were supposed to run through Friday, but were extended into the weekend as negotiators were still too far apart at the end of the work week. Despite the modest agreement, the disconnect between the wealthiest nations -- those who've pumped the most carbon into the atmosphere -- and the developing world -- places most vulnerable to a warming planet -- remains one of the largest hurdles to a more aggressive accord.


The deal, however loose in its details, does offer some clarity as to the roles nations will play moving forward, with the wealthiest and largest carbon producers leading the way. The wealthiest of polluters will also aid developing countries, helping them to invest in cleaner energy. Still, critics say the specifics are few.

Leaders did their best to put a positive spin on the result.

"It was contentious along the way but it fundamentally accomplished what we wanted it to," said Todd Stern, the United States special envoy for climate change.

Environmental activists weren't buying it.

"Against the backdrop of extreme weather in the Philippines and potentially the hottest year ever recorded, governments at the UN climate talks in Lima opted for a half-baked plan to cut emissions," Sam Smith, chief of climate policy for the World Wildlife Fund, said in a statement.

"We were deeply concerned that these talks would fail to deliver a fair and ambitious outcome as we watched events here in Lima this week," said Jagoda Munic, of Friends of the Earth International. "Our concerns have proven to be tragically accurate. This text is desperately lacking in ambition, leadership, justice and solidarity for the people worst hit by the climate crisis."


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