Oh frabjous day! America appears finally to be getting on the climate change bandwagon, rather than taking a page from the Japanese negotiating handbook and playing obstructionist at every turn.
BBC reports this as breaking news; I’m sure we’ll have better analysis in a few hours. So far, this merely looks like an agreement to agree on climate targets, but the US hadn’t been willing to go even that far. And as the Financial Times’ Martin Wolf pointed out, climate change action will go nowhere if the US does not participate, so this development is important, even if it is only a first step in the right direction.
From the BBC:
Delegates at the UN summit in Bali have agreed a deal on curbing climate change after days of bitter wrangling.
Agreement was reached after a U-turn from the US, which had wanted firmer commitments from developing countries.
Earlier, the EU and US agreed that industrialised countries would not set firm emissions targets at this stage.
The “Bali roadmap” initiates a two-year process of negotiations designed to agree a new set of emissions targets to replace those in the Kyoto Protocol.
“I think we have come a long way here,” said Paula Dobriansky, head of the US delegation.
“In this, the United States is very committed to this effort and just wants to really ensure we all act together.”
The US acceptance came just minutes after it had signalled it would reject the compromise, a statement that drew boos from delegates in the conference hall.
The EU had earlier thrashed out the compromise text with developing countries including China.
They had complained that language on reducing their emissions was too strong, and would commit them to measures that could retard their economic development.
They also wanted the West to pledge more action on transferring clean technology to developing societies.