UN conference agrees deal aimed at averting climate catastrophe

GLASGOW (REUTERS, AFP) – UN climate talks in Scotland ended with a global agreement that aimed at least to keep alive hopes of capping global warming at 1.5 deg C, and so maintain a realistic chance of saving the world from catastrophic climate change.

Alok Sharma, the conference chairman, banged down his gavel to signal that there were no decisive objections from the almost 200 national delegations present in Glasgow, ranging from coal- and gas-fuelled superpowers to oil producers and Pacific islands being swallowed by the rise in sea levels.

The deal came despite a last-gasp intervention from China and India seeking to water down language on fossil fuels in the summit’s text.

His voice breaking with emotion after hearing from vulnerable nations which expressed their anger over the changes to the text, Sharma said: “May I just say to all delegates I apologise for the way this process has unfolded and I am deeply sorry.”

“I also understand the deep disappointment but I think as you have noted, it’s also vital that we protect this package.”

His word drew sympathetic applause from the many who spoke out against the Sino-Indian step.

That turned to much louder cheers from the delegates when Sharma declared the climate deal formally adopted, as attendees hugged and high-fived.

The deal is the result of two weeks of tortuous negotiations in Glasgow that had to be extended for an extra day to balance the demands of climate-vulnerable nations, big industrial powers, and those whose consumption or exports of fossil fuels are vital to their economic development.

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