This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
two hundred countries met for two weeks at a United Nations conference on
climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the end, only five of them reached an
agreement: the United States, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
Obama praised the agreement last Friday. This week, he said many people are
disappointed in the agreement. But he
said the compromise was better than nothing.
The voluntary agreement urges major polluters to make
deeper cuts in the release of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas emissions, such
as carbon dioxide, are created in part by burning oil and coal for
transportation and electricity.
<!-- IMAGE -->
The agreement sets
targets to prevent the Earth's average temperature from rising more than two
degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. And the plan calls for one hundred
billion dollars a year in aid to poor nations to deal with climate change. This
would start in two thousand twenty.
But the agreement,
known as the Copenhagen Accord, is not legally binding. It fails to set
detailed targets for cuts in carbon emissions. And it failed to earn the
support of all the nations at the talks.
India's environment minister praised the united
position taken by India, China, Brazil and South Africa. He said it permitted
them to avoid the legally binding targets and international supervision
proposed by developed countries.
for example, has promised to cut emissions by at least twenty percent from two
thousand five levels by two thousand twenty. But big developing countries do
not want to limit their economic growth. They say rich nations created the
problem, so they should take most of the responsibility for reducing greenhouse
rejected accusations by critics that it was responsible for the results at Copenhagen.
A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said developed countries did not perform well at
the talks. She said China has taken its own measures to fight climate change and
supports pressing ahead with international cooperation.
China and other large developing countries have accused
rich nations of failing to offer big enough cuts in their own emissions. They
also say wealthy nations did not offer enough money and technology to help poor
countries deal with climate change.
Europe, politicians and environmentalists expressed deep disappointment that
world leaders failed to reach a stronger agreement.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the Copenhagen Accord is only
a beginning. He says he will work with world leaders to reach a legally binding
treaty in the coming months.
month all countries are supposed to have plans for cutting emissions. And
climate talks will continue in the coming year with meetings in Germany and
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.