Saturday, December 15, 2007

US Agrees to Bali Compromise

BALI, Indonesia (CNN) -- The United States made a dramatic reversal Saturday, first rejecting and then accepting a compromise to set the stage for intense negotiations in the next two years aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

Protesters gather outside the conference center in Bali as delegates discuss climate change.

The U.N. climate change conference in Bali was filled with emotion and cliff-hanging anticipation on Saturday, an extra day added because of a failure to reach agreement during the scheduled sessions.
The final result was a global warming pact that provides for negotiating rounds to conclude in 2009.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the pact "a good beginning." "This is just a beginning and not an ending," Ban said. "We'll have to engage in many complex, difficult and long negotiations."
The head of the U.S. delegation -- Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky -- was booed Saturday afternoon when she announced that the United States was rejecting the plan as then written because they were "not prepared to accept this formulation." She said developing countries needed to carry more of the responsibility. Watch CNN's Dan Rivers on Bali 'rollercoaster ride.' »
While rhetoric at such conferences is often just words, a short speech by a delegate from the small developing country of Papua New Guinea appeared to carry weight with the Americans. The delegate challenged the United States to "either lead, follow or get out of the way."
Just five minutes later, when it appeared the conference was on the brink of collapse, Dobriansky took to the floor again to announce the United States was willing to accept the arrangement. Applause erupted in the hall and a relative level of success for the conference appeared certain.
Saturday's session, a roller coaster ride for delegates and the media, began with optimism after the European Union and the United States reached agreement on a compromise for their differences on a global warming pact.

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