Negotiators reached a watered-down deal at UN talks in Peru last night in preparation for a global climate pact in Paris next year that has been criticised by activists as being “very weak”.
The Lima agreement was reached after hours of debate between rich and poor countries. Developing nations had earlier rejected a draft deal that they claimed would allow rich countries to avoid responsibility over global warming.
Peru’s environment minister presented a fourth draft just before midnight and said he hoped it would satisfy all parties before giving the reduced number of remaining attendees an hour to review it.
However, the vague language of the drafts - which is claimed to not be tough enough on countries that cause the most damage - was criticised by environmental campaigners.
Sam Smith, chief of climate policy for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said: “The text went from weak to weaker to weakest and it's very weak indeed.”
In pictures: Changing climate around the world
In pictures: Changing climate around the world
Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water in Qaqortoq, Greenland
Oroumieh, one of the biggest saltwater lakes on Earth, has shrunk more than 80 percent to 1,000 square kilometers in the past decade. It shrinks mainly because of climate change, expanded irrigation for surrounding farms and the damming of rivers that feed the body of water
A boat navigates among calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Boats are a crucial mode of transportation in the country that has few roads. As cities like Miami, New York and other vulnerable spots around the world strategize about how to respond to climate change, many Greenlanders simply do what theyve always done: adapt. 'Were used to change, said Greenlander Pilu Neilsen. 'We learn to adapt to whatever comes. If all the glaciers melt, well just get more land
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is seen after being inaugurated in Longyearbyen, Norway. The 'doomsday' seed vault built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters opened deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
A technician preparing to drain a vast underground lake at the Tete Rousse glacier on the Mont Blanc Alpine mountain, to avert a potentially disatrous flood. Some 65,000 cubic metres (2.3 million cubic feet) of water have gathered in a cavity, dangerously raising the pressure beneath the mountain, a favourite spot for holiday makers in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Cracked mud is picture at sunrise in the dried shores of Lake Gruyere affected by continuous drought near the western Switzerland village of Avry-devant-Pont. A leading climate scientist warned that Europe should take action over increasing drought and floods, stressing that some climate change trends were clear despite variations in predictions
Cattle graze on grassland that remains dry and brown at the height of the rainy season in south of Bakersfield, California. Its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and dating back as far as 500 years, according to some scientists who study tree rings
An aerial view shows tents of flood-displaced people surrounded by water in southern Sehwan town. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres met with people displaced by last year's devastating floods. Catastrophic monsoon rains that swept through the country in 2010 and affected some 20 million people, destroyed 1.7 million homes and damaged 5.4 million acres of arable land
An aerial view of flooding in North Wagga Wagga. Climate change is amplifying risks from drought, floods, storm and rising seas, threatening all countries but small island states, poor nations and arid regions in particular, UN experts warned
Damages caused by a landslide on the Pan-American highway near La Moramulca, 55 Km south of Tegucigalpa. International highways have been washed out, villages isolated and thousands of families have lost homes and crops in a region that the United Nations has classified as one of the most affected by climate change
A resident sprays water on a peatland fire in Pekanbaru district in Riau province on Indonesia's Sumatra island. Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands, is one of the world's biggest carbon emitters because of rampant deforestation. US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday issued a clarion call for nations to do to more to combat climate change, calling it 'the world's largest weapon of mass destruction'
An excavator clearing a peatland forest area for a palm oil plantations in Trumon subdistrict, Aceh province, on Indonesia's Sumatra island. As Southeast Asia's largest economy grows rapidly, swathes of biodiverse forests across the archipelago of 17,000 islands have been cleared to make way for paper and palm oil plantations, as well as for mining and agriculture. The destruction has ravaged biodiversity, placing animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers in danger of extinction, while also leading to the release of vast amounts of climate change-causing carbon dioxide
Stagnant rain water with tannery waste make the Hazaribagh area in Old Dhaka as well as Buriganga River the most polluted. Each year during the seven-month long dry season between October and April the Buriganga River becomes totally stagnant with its upstream region drying up and becoming polluted from toxic waste from city industries
Waste water from Dhaka city drained to the River Buriganga contributes to its pollutions. On the World Water Day observed in 2007 under the theme Coping with Water Scarcity, under the leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, DrikNEWS explores some of the images of the river. UN-Water has identified coping with water scarcity as part of the strategic issues and priorities requiring joint UN action. The theme highlights the significance of cooperation and importance of an integrated approach to water resource management of water at international, national and local levels
Heavy smog has been lingering in northern and eastern parts of China, disturbing the traffic, worsening air pollution and forcing the closure of schools. China's Environment Ministry said it will send inspection teams to provinces and cities most seriously affected by smog to ensure rules on fighting air pollution are being enforced
The final draft said countries have “common but differentiated responsibilities” in dealing with global warming and their pledges would only have to be reviewed to assess effect on climate change one month before the pact next year.
“As a text it’s not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties,” said the minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal.
The main goal for the two-week session in Lima was to reach an agreement on what information should go into each country's pledges that they each submit in 2015.
It also heard demands by small island states who are at risk of being flooded by rising seas, mentioning a “loss and damage” mechanism agreed upon in last year’s talks in Poland.
“We need a permanent arrangement to help the poorest of the world,” Ian Fry, negotiator for the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, said at a midday session.
However, it was vague on the content of the pledges, saying they “may” instead of “shall” include quantifiable information showing how countries intend to meet their emissions targets.
Also, top carbon polluter China and other major developing countries opposed plans for a review process that would allow the pledges to be compared against one another before Paris.
Historically, Western nations are the biggest emitters. Currently, most CO2 emissions are coming from developing countries as they grow their economies and lift millions of people out of poverty.
During a brief stop in Lima on Thursday, US secretary of state John Kerry said fixing the problem was “everyone’s responsibility, because it's the net amount of carbon that matters, not each country's share.”
According to the UN’s scientific panel on climate change, the world can pump out no more than about 1 trillion tons of carbon to have a likely chance of avoiding dangerous levels of warming. It already has spent more than half of that carbon budget as emissions continue to rise, driven by growth in China and other emerging economies.
Global warming is said by scientists to be caused by the burning of oil, coal and natural gas and climate impacts already happening include rising sea levels, intensifying heat waves and shifts in weather patterns causing floods in some areas and droughts in others.
The UN weather agency said last week that 2014 could become the hottest year on record.
Additional reporting by Associated PressReuse content