After a tumultuous day of negotiations, leaders in Copenhagen reached a climate deal late Friday. The agreement falls short of many negotiators' expectations and hopes, but it salvages the conference and lays the foundation for a binding treaty somewhere down the line.
Tempers flared in Copenhagen today as protesters were beaten back by police outside the Bella Center, where the international climate talks were taking place. The police used tear gas to subdue the protests, and they arrested around 250 people.
The international climate talks in Copenhagen went on life support this morning when representatives of developing nations staged a temporary boycott of the conference, but leaders worked quickly to resuscitate the negotiations.
The dispute once again centered on dissatisfaction among developing countries with the way the world's major economies were handling the negotiating process -- particularly the threat that they might scrap the Kyoto Protocol, which imposes carbon emissions limits on wealthy nations while exempting poorer ones.
The prospects for a unified front between developed and developing nations in combating climate change further broke down today, as more than half of the world's countries -- mostly smaller nations, including those most threatened by the effects of global warming -- pledged not to sign any accord that allows global temperatures to rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. (Abhishek's got more on that)
The future of civilization hinges on the outcome of the international climate talks in Copenhagen, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told reporters today.
If that's the case, the prospect for human survival just took a turn for the worse.
The delegates have descended on Copenhagen. The curtain has been raised. And as UN climate chief Yvo de Boer told the representatives of 192 countries at the opening festivities of the 12-day international climate conference, “The clock has ticked down to zero. After two years of negotiation, the time has come to deliver.”
Having scaled back their ambitions for next month's Copenhagen climate conference, world leaders are working to salvage the effort, and some are optimistic about the prospects for a meaningful step toward a legally binding international climate treaty.
Bearish on the prospects for a legally binding comprehensive climate deal in Copenhagen next month, world leaders have decided to put off a full treaty until at least next year and instead aim for a less sweeping, "politically binding" agreement in Copenhagen.