Obama ‘bursts in on Indian, Chinese, Brazilian leaders’, clinches climate deal

US President Barack Obama reached a climate deal with the biggest developing nations in dramatic fashion, according to the New York Times. It says:

The deal came after a dramatic moment in which Mr. Obama burst into a meeting of the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders, according to senior administration officials. Chinese protocol officers noisily protested, and Mr. Obama said he did not want them negotiating in secret. The intrusion led to new talks that cemented key terms of the deal, American officials said.

Sergio Serra, Brazil’s senior climate negotiator here, confirmed that Mr. Obama had “joined” a meeting of Brazilian, Indian, Chinese and other officials, although he did not say that Mr. Obama walked in uninvited.

The accord drops the expected goal of concluding a binding international treaty by the end of 2010, which leaves the implementation of its provisions uncertain. It is likely to undergo many months, perhaps years, of additional negotiation before it emerges in any internationally enforceable form.

But there is no guarantee the agreement will be approved by all 193 nations, cautions the Wall Street Journal. Some delegations have not yet seen the latest document, says the BBC.

The Wall Street Journal reports: The White House said Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Jacob Zuma reached a "meaningful agreement" for combating climate change. The deal was described by an administration official as "not sufficient to combat the threat of climate change but it's an important first step."

Reuters says: Brazil also approved the deal that appeared to bypass other participants at UN-led climate talks in Copenhagen. The accord did not have guaranteed approval from all 193 nations. Noticeably, EU nations were absent from the meeting.

Target: Not more than 2 deg C temperature rise

The Wall Street Journal adds: The White House official said developed and developing countries have agreed to listing their national actions and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There will be a mechanism to funnel money to help developing nations pay for technology and projects to cope with the affects of climate change, such as rising sea levels.

The agreement sets a target of two degrees Celsius for the increase in global temperatures. Countries are supposed to provide information on the implementation of actions to cut carbon dioxide emissions through national communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines, the official said.

Greenhouse gas emission verification details?

Details of the language on verification of steps to curb greenhouse gases – which could be critical to political acceptance of the agreement in Congress – weren't immediately available. The so-called transparency issue was a critical stumbling block in discussions between the U.S. and China.

The administration official said "no country is entirely satisfied with each element but this is a meaningful and historic step forward and a foundation from which to make further progress".

The Guardian reports: Later, in a press conference, Obama praised by name five leaders: Meles (Ethiopia), Wen (China), Singh (India), Lula (Brazil) and Zuma (South Africa). And he called the deal "an important milestone".

But he admitted, "This progress is not enough."

"We have come a long way but we have much further to go.

"Because of weather constraints in Washington I am leaving before a final vote."

BBC environment correspondent Richard Black said it was not yet clear how other countries would view the agreement.

Some delegations had not seen the latest document, he said.