Bitter differences were at least temporarily set aside early today in Copenhagen, where — as NPR's Stu Seidel writes — "negotiators from 193 countries reached consensus on supporting (climate change) deal brokered yesterday by President Obama and leaders from China, India, South Africa and Brazil."
Whether the agreement is meaningful, however, is still a hot debate.
From Copenhagen, NPR's Richard Harris reports that:
"The talks had dragged on for almost two weeks without movement. President Obama flew in Friday and brokered a deal. It included key players — China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
"But it was arrived at behind closed doors, and countries not included in the negotiations complained the process was undemocratic. After arguing that point through the night, they ultimately gave in and approved the deal.
"For the first time, governments have decided that the world should heat up by no more than 2 degrees celsius. The deal also contains a new financial mechanism that would help poor countries develop with clean energy and cope with the consequences of climate change.
"But the deal is not legally binding and it contains no actual country pledges. Some environmental groups call it an important step. But just a step."
Britain's The Guardian is declaring the talks a failure. It writes that:
The U.N. climate summit reached a weak outline of a global agreement in Copenhagen tonight, falling far short of what Britain and many poor countries were seeking and leaving months of tough negotiations to come.
And The New York Times says "a prolonged fight between nations small and large over an international pact to limit climate risks ... came to a somewhat murky end."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that he's "aware that this is just the beginning" of a process to craft a binding pact to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, the Associated Press writes.