President Obama and the leaders of China, India, and South Africa reached a "meaningful agreement" tonight in Copenhagen on steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the White House announced. The deal requires the nations of the world to list their actions to curb emissions and sets up a framework for rich countries to pay poor nations in order to cope with the effects of climate change. The agreement is meant to limit global warming to 2° Celsius.
The deal does not seem to set up specific mechanisms for verifying that countries are doing what they have promised—a key American demand. Despite that, "this is a meaningful and historic step forward and a foundation from which to make further progress," a White House official tells the Wall Street Journal. That's not enough for some: Italy's environmental minister bemoaned the fact that, in lieu of a breakthrough, "there will be a text that refers to next year for a comprehensive agreement."