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U.N. Climate Talk Ends with Modest Agreement

December 13, 2010

The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún came to a close early Saturday morning after the signing of a modest agreement to combat climate change. The deal, known as the Cancún Agreements, commits all major economies to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions but does not lay out how far overall global emissions should be cut. The agreement does not include a commitment to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, when its first period expires. The deal also establishes a green climate fund that will be run by the World Bank. Prior to the close of the summit, U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern praised the deal.

Todd Stern: "So, let us now do what it takes to support the Mexican presidency, get this deal done, and put the world on a more hopeful path toward a low-emission and a sustainable future."

But, the Bolivian government expressed deep reservations over the climate deal, saying it does not do enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. During the closing night of the summit, Pablo Solón, Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, outlined Bolivia’s concerns.

Pablo Solón: "We responsibly cannot follow a text that firstly doesn’t guarantee a second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and which, even worse, establishes that there will be a rise in temperature of more than four degrees centigrade. This would make us responsible for a situation which my president has described as genocide."

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