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March 4, 2021

UN climate change talks in Cancun agree a deal

UN talks in Cancun have reached a deal to curb climate change, including a fund to help developing countries, BBC informs. Nations endorsed compromise texts drawn up by the Mexican hosts, despite objections from Bolivia.

The draft documents say deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed, but do not establish a mechanism for achieving the pledges countries have made. Some countries’ resistance to the Kyoto Protocol had been a stumbling block during the final week of negotiations. However, diplomats were able to find a compromise. Delegates cheered speeches from governments that had caused the most friction during negotiations – Japan, China, even the US – as one by one they endorsed the draft.

BBC environment correspondent Richard Black said the meeting did not achieve the comprehensive, all-encompassing deal that many activists and governments want. But he said it was being “touted as a platform on which that comprehensive agreement can be built”.

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon said the summit had allowed leaders to “glimpse new horizons” where countries had the “shared task to keep the planet healthy and keep it safe from [humans]”. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Now the world must deliver on its promises. There is more hard work to be done ahead of the climate change conference in South Africa next year.”

The Green Climate Fund is intended to raise and disburse $100bn (£64bn) a year by 2020 to protect poor nations against climate impacts and assist them with low-carbon development.

A new Adaptation Committee will support countries as they establish climate protection plans. And parameters for funding developing countries to reduce deforestation are outlined. But the deal is a lot less than the comprehensive agreement that many countries wanted at last year’s Copenhagen summit and continue to seek. It leaves open the question of whether any of its measures, including emission cuts, will be legally binding.

Developing countries will have their emission-curbing measures subjected to international verification only when they are funded by Western money – a formulation that seemed to satisfy both China, which had concerns on such verification procedures, and the US, which had demanded them.

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