Many delegates are celebrating after the UN climate change talks reached an agreement to force all the world’s biggest polluters to take action to slow the pace of global warming, but opinion was split whether the agreement went far or fast enough.
The British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne said they should be proud of what they have achieved:
“What we have done today is actually a great success for European diplomacy. We’ve managed to put this on the map and we’ve managed to bring the major emitters, like the United States, India and China, into a roadmap which will secure an overarching global deal.”
However Tasneem Essop of the World Wildlife Fund disagreed with this:
“We are disappointed with the outcome. What we expected here was urgent action to address climate change and certainly the biggest problem here was the lack of ambition in terms of immediate action to reduce carbon emissions. We’ve come out essentially with an empty shell,” he said.
The terms of the agreement will now be discussed next year, with the deadline for the decision in 2015. The treaty would then be put in force five years later in 2020. Some scientists say by that time global temperatures could rise by as much as three degrees.
While the existing Kyoto Treaty is set to be extended to 2017, this will not affect some of the world’s biggest polluters.