Celebratory cheers and clapping are unusual at UN climate talks but delegates in Doha felt they had something to congratulate themselves for after reaching a historic deal to compensate poor nations.
The agreement was only settled, however, after the chairman lost patience, threw procedure out of the window and read through the agenda so quickly there was no time for its biggest critic, Russia, to express its reservations.
Germany’s Environment Minister Peter Altmaier hailed the outcome: “I believe this compromise was good, it offers a solid basis for our work over the next two years and what I’ve noticed in particular is a sense of solidarity that goes beyond what we’ve seen in previous conferences, especially Copenhagen.”
But critics at the conference said there were no new measures to halt rising global greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenpeace activist Kumi Naidoo delivered this stinging verdict: “Our governments must realise that this failure is a betrayal of the people in the Philippines and around the world that have faced climate impacts now, today, and will continue in the days to come but what is at stake here is not some ethereal thing called the planet, the climate, the environment, what is at stake here is our children’s and grand children’s future.”
The final text, backed by nearly 200 nations, extends the Kyoto protocol to 2020. But following the withdrawal of Russia, Japan and Canada, its remaining backers, led by the European Union and Australia, now account for just 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.