United Nations member have come to an agreement on how to tackle climate change, after slow negotiations at the Lima Call for Climate Action ran almost two days over time.
For the first time every country will be committed to drawing up a national pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions, yet the deal has been accused of being weakened by a series of compromises.
All of the 194 countries represented in Lima agreed on a course of action that it is hoped will lead to a global climate treaty at a summit in Paris next year.
Each country’s emissions reductions targets will be reviewed by the UN next year, who will determine whether enough was being done to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels.
The agreement was adopted on Sunday just hours after a previous draft had been rejected. The final draft softened the language on national pledges, swapping “shall” for “may” on guidelines on countries providing quantifiable information on how they intend to meet targets within their pledges.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s environment minister and chair of the talks, said: “I think this is good, and I think this moves us forward.”
Strains in talks were caused by disagreements on how much of the burden in reducing emissions should be carried by wealthy nations.
After a US-China pact on cutting emissions was revealed last month, it had been hoped talks would not be dogged by the same conflict between developing and wealthy nations that have hindered talks for the last 20 years.
However in a sign of the challenges to come, China and other developing nations insisted in Lima that the deal should better reflect the financial challenges they will face by reducing emissions.
The final agreement included a “loss and damage” scheme to help poorer countries more vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
Before an agreement was reached, US climate envoy Todd Stern warned of stalling progress.
Failing to produce the decision before us will be seen as a major breakdown, and will deal a serious blow to the confidence of the parties and others as we approach Paris. And indeed to the hope of a Paris agreement.
The UK is one of the best countries in the world at fighting the effects of climate change, according to the latest climate change performance index.