Organisers hope to reach firmer deal one year from now

World leaders who gathered in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference have failed to come to a legally binding agreement on the steps needed to tackle climate change.

Briefing the press at the end of the two-week conference, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that an accord had been reached that has significant elements, but that is not legally binding.

The key points of the climate agreement, forged following a day of frenzied talks at the 193-nation global warming summit in Denmark, include an objective to keep the maximum temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.

The agreement includes a commitment by countries to list their emission reduction targets and mitigation action.

Countries further committed to give the developing world $30bn short-term funding for immediate climate action till 2012 and $100bn annually by 2020 in long-term financing, as well as mechanisms to support technology transfer and forestry.

De Boer described the accord as “politically important,” and demonstrating a willingness to move forward. The challenge now, he said, is to turn what is agreed into something that is legally binding in Mexico one year from now.

Barack Obama, the US president, hailed the agreement as meaningful and said it would provide the framework for future talks. But he also acknowledged that it did not go far enough.

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Closing press briefing 19 December