Climate negotiators salvaged a compromise deal in Lima early today that sets the stage for a global pact in Paris next year, but rejected a rigorous review of greenhouse gas emissions limits. More than 30 hours behind schedule, delegates from more than 190 countries agreed on what information should go into the pledges that countries submit for the expected Paris pact. They argued all day yesterday over the wording for the watered-down deal, with developing nations worried that the text blurred the distinction between what rich and poor countries can be expected to do. Many developing countries, the most vulnerable to climate change's impacts, accuse rich nations of shirking their responsibilities to curb climate change and pay for the damage it inflicts.
"As a text it's not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties," says Peru's Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who was conference chairman. In presenting a new, fourth draft just before midnight, he gave a sharply reduced body of delegates an hour to review it; many delegates had already quit by that time. The draft restored language demanded by small island states at risk of being flooded by rising seas, mentioning a "loss and damage" mechanism. But the approved draft weakened language on the content of pledges, saying they "may" instead of "shall" include quantifiable information showing how countries intend to meet their emissions targets. "The text went from weak to weaker to weakest and it's very weak indeed," says a chief of an environmental group. (Read more climate change stories.)