“Confidence is back,” announced Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon at the conclusion of climate talks in Cancun at 3:00 a.m. “Hope has returned.”Restoring hopes crushed by the collapse last year of Copenhagen’s climate negotiations, the nations of the world have rediscovered consensus on addressing global warming pollution tonight in Cancun. The top challenge for negotiators has been to figure out a successor framework to the Kyoto Protocol, which failed to set limits on the pollution of the United States (because the Senate refused to ratify the treaty) and nations like China and India (as developing countries, they are exempt from Kyoto’s binding targets). In Copenhagen, these nations sacrificed consensus and multilateralism to forge a new framework for cleaning their economies.
The deal is a lot less than the comprehensive agreement that many countries wanted at last year's Copenhagen summit and continue to seek. It leaves open the question of whether any of its measures, including emission cuts, will be legally binding.
"What we have now is a text that, while not perfect, is certainly a good basis for moving forward," said chief US negotiator Todd Stern.
His Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, sounded a similar note and added: "The negotiations in the future will continue to be difficult."