San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

States ‘take note' at Copenhagen summit but fall short of binding emissions deal

The United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark ended this weekend with a non-binding accord that failed to garner consensus from all nations present at the negotiations.

Delegates from the 193 nations “took note” of the new document, which did not set specific emissions targets, and they agreed to push towards a firm agreement at climate talks at the next summit in Mexico in November 2010, although no one made any guarantees.

The “Copenhagen Accord” left even some of the most modest expectations unmet and environmental groups across the globe began to express their discontent with the outcome after talks concluded on Saturday.

But the agreement did propose $100 billion in annual aid for developing nations by 2020, meeting one of Costa Rica´s demands heading into the conference.

During a speech on Thursday at the Copenhagen summit, Costa Rican Environment Minster Jorge Rodríguez touted the country´s reforestation achievements, but scolded developed countries for not having assisted with the carbon sequestration initiatives.

“It´s a fundamental error that our country has had to continue financing forest conservation with its own resources, especially at a time when our external debt is increasing,” Rodriguez said after talking up Costa Rica´s payment for environmental services program, an initiative which has been accredited with helping reforest 30 percent of the country´s national land in the past two decades.

Costa Rican delegates estimate the country will need a total of $7 billion for climate change mitigation projects.

The Copenhagen text did not detail where the money would come from, nor did it say which countries would be the donation´s greatest benefactors or beneficiaries.

United States President Barack Obama said his government will contribute to the $100 billion dollars in aid “if and only if” all nations agree to an accord that requires “mitigation, transparency and financing.”

But without a legally binding treaty, many critics are skeptical that countries will voluntarily spend billions of dollars in climate change aid to developing nations.

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