After two weeks of bruising negotiations, officials from almost 200 countries agreed Saturday on universal, transparent rules that will govern efforts to cut emissions and curb global warming, the AP reports. Fierce disagreements on two other climate issues were kicked down the road for a year to help bridge a chasm of opinions on the best solutions. The deal agreed upon at UN climate talks in Poland enables countries to put into action the principles in the 2015 Paris climate accord. But to the frustration of environmental activists and some countries who were urging more ambitious climate goals, negotiators delayed decisions on two key issues until next year in an effort to get a deal on them. "Through this package, you have made a thousand little steps forward together," says Michal Kurtyka, a senior Polish official chairing the talks.
The final text at the UN talks omits a previous reference to specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and merely welcomes the "timely completion" of the IPCC report, not its conclusions. One major sticking point was how to create a functioning market in carbon credits. Economists believe that an international trading system could be an effective way to drive down greenhouse gas emissions and raise large amounts of money for measures to curb global warming. But Brazil wanted to keep the piles of carbon credits it had amassed under an old system that developed countries say wasn't credible or transparent. Among those that pushed back hardest was the US. In the end, a decision on the mechanics of an emissions trading system was postponed to next year's meeting. Click for the full story. (Read more global warming stories.)