Saturday, December 12, 2015

'Historic' climate deal in sight as nations parse final text

The agreement still needs approval from representatives of the U.S. and 195 other governments.

LE BOURGET, France — Negotiators on Saturday released the final draft of a proposed deal that would unite the U.S. and the rest of the world in taking on the threat of catastrophic climate change, amid optimism that the long-sought agreement may finally be reached by the end of the day.

The deal still needs approval from representatives of the U.S. and 195 other governments, which could continue wrangling over the fine print into the night. But its success would be a major win for President Barack Obama, who has made climate change one of his top second-term priorities.

One U.S. official said he expects the deal to be approved Saturday, adding that he hadn't heard about any objections to the text. "I don't know if anybody is going to go crazy," the official said.

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The U.S. and nearly 200 nations clinched a historic climate change deal on Saturday, pledging for the first time to marshal a global effort to fight climbing temperatures and rising seas and delivering a major victory to President Barack Obama, who has made the issue a core priority of his presidency.

The pact is the most aggressive international plan ever put in place to combat climate change and comes after more than two decades of often tortured United Nations talks that have pitted the U.S. and other industrialized nations against poor countries over who should shoulder the burden for protecting the planet from the greenhouse gases spewed by smokestacks and tailpipes.

The deal, which is the product of two weeks of tense negotiations, won't by itself do enough to stop damaging temperature rises. But negotiators said the pact is a down payment on a decades-long push to bring emissions into balance by the end of the century.

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