From The Guardian:
The UN climate change talks produced a modest deal today that for the first time commits all the major economies to reducing emissions, but not enough to meet their promise of keeping the global temperature rise to 2C.
The agreement, which took four years to negotiate, should help to prevent deforestation, promote the transfer of low-carbon technologies to developing countries and, by 2020, establish a green fund, potentially worth $100bn (£63bn) a year, to shield the more vulnerable countries from climate change.
However, governments failed to reach agreement on how far overall global emissions should be cut, and there are many loopholes for countries to avoid making the deep reductions that scientists say are needed.
Update: The take from The New York Times:
The agreement fell well short of the broad changes scientists say are needed to avoid dangerous climate change in coming decades. But it lays the groundwork for stronger measures in the future, if nations are able to overcome the emotional arguments that have crippled climate change negotiations in recent years.
Ah yes, groundwork, process, further discussion, yes. Here is a comment from British social critic, Montgomery Phython:
So we gotta get up of our arses and stop just talking about it! All in PFJ: Yeah! Yeah! Hear! Loretta: I agree! It's action that counts, not words, and we need action now! All in PFJ: Yeah! Yeah! Reg: You're right. We could sit around here all day, talking, passing resolutions, making clever speeches, it's not to ship one Roman soldier! Francis: So let's just stop gabbing on about it! It's completely pointless, and it's getting us nowhere! All: Right! Loretta: I agree! This is a complete waste of time! Door: [Sound of Opening] Judith: They've arrested Brian! All: What? What? Judith: They dragged him off! They're gonna crucify him! Reg: Right! This calls for immediate discussion! Judith: What? Sibling: Immediate! Sibling II: Right! Loretta: New motion? Reg: Completely new motion! Uh, that, uh, that there be, uh, immediate action... Francis: ...uh, once the vote has been taken. Reg: Well, obviously once the vote has been taken resolution the oh ---- resolution! Judith: Reg, let's go now, please! Reg: Right, right!In the - in the light of fresh information from sibling Judith... Loretta: Ehm...not so fast, Reg. Judith: Reg, for God's sake! It's perfectly simple! All you've gotta do is to go out of that door now and try to stop the Romans nailing him up! It's happening, Reg! Something's actually happening, Reg! Life of Brian (1979) movie script - Screenplays for You
Too little, too late.
Andy Revkin at Dot Earth on The New York Times links to a great cartoon which makes the same point.
Marc Roberts, my favorite climate cartoonist (and perhaps the only one), has a biting riff out on the conclusion of the climate negotiations in Cancún, Mexico, which reached agreement early this morning on an outline for further actions, but with heaps of conditionality and scant signs of hard commitments.