UN members agree climate deal at Lima talks

United Nations members have reached an agreement on how countries should tackle climate change.

Delegates have approved a framework for setting national pledges to be submitted to a summit next year.

Differences over the draft text caused the talks in Lima, Peru, to overrun by two days.

Environmental groups have criticised the deal as a weak and ineffectual compromise, saying it weakens international climate rules.

The talks proved difficult because of divisions between rich and poor countries over the scale and scope of plans to tackle global warming.

‘Not perfect’

The BBC’s Matt McGrath in Lima said none of the 194 countries attending the talks walked away with everything they wanted, but everybody got something.

Peru’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who chaired the summit, told reporters: “As a text it’s not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties.”

The agreement was adopted hours after a previous draft was rejected by developing countries, who accused rich nations of shirking their responsibilities to fight global warming and pay for its impacts.

The final draft is said to have alleviated those concerns with by saying countries have “common but differentiated responsibilities”.

“We’ve got what we wanted,” Indian environment minister Prakash Javedekar told reporters, saying the document preserved the notion that richer nations had to lead the way in making cuts in emissions.

It also restored a promise to poorer countries that a “loss and damage” scheme would be established to help them cope with the financial implications of rising temperatures.

However, it weakened language on national pledges, saying countries “may” instead of “shall” include quantifiable information showing how they intend to meet their emissions targets.

Sam Smith, chief of climate policy for the environmental group WWF, said: “The text went from weak to weaker to weakest and it’s very weak indeed.”

The talks followed last month’s agreement on emissions targets between the US and China, but hopes soon faded after delegates began the talks in Lima on 1 December that it would encourage wider global agreement .

On Saturday, US climate envoy Todd Stern had warned that the deadlock in the negotiations threatened the chances of a new global deal next year.

“Failing to produce the decision before us will be seen as a major breakdown, and will deal a serious blow to the confidence of the parties and others as we approach Paris. And indeed to the hope of a Paris agreement,” he said.