A UN climate conference Saturday adopted a plan to negotiate a new global warming pact by 2009 after the U.S. delegation accepted a compromise proposal.
Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar, the president of the meeting, banged down his gavel on the deal to cheering applause, sealing a compromise between rich and poor countries, which had disputed over climate policies during the two-week meeting.
The climate conference, which kicked off in Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Dec. 3 and was scheduled to end on Friday, has lasted into Saturday as tough negotiations were going on among about 190 countries' delegations over the wording of the draft text of the meeting.
The United States on Saturday dropped its opposition to a compromise plan, breaking a deadlock between rich and poor nations.
"We will go forward and join consensus," Paula Dobriansky, who was heading the U.S. delegation, told the 187-nation meeting, triggering cheers and applause from many in the audience.
The talks have agreed to a roadmap for two-year negotiations on a new climate regime. The planned treaty would take effect at the end of 2012 when the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires
The "Bali Roadmap" was approved by consensus among the 190 members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) after tough negotiations.
The decision includes a clear agenda for the key issues to be negotiated up to 2009, including action for adapting to the negative consequences of climate change, such as droughts and floods; ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ways to widely deploy climate-friendly technologies and financing both adaptation and mitigation measures.
Concluding negotiations in 2009 will ensure that the new deal can enter into force by 2013, following the expiry of the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC said in a press release.
"This is a real breakthrough, a real opportunity for the international community to successfully fight climate change," said Indonesian Environment Minister and President of the conference, Rachmat Witoelar.
"Parties have recognized the urgency of action on climate change and have now provided the political response to what scientists have been telling us is needed," he said.
Earlier this year, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a finding that if left unchecked, the world's average temperature could rise by as much as 6 degrees centigrade by the end of the century, causing serious harm to economies, societies and ecosystems worldwide.
(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2007)