U.N. delegates from nearly 190 nations laid the technical groundwork for a landmark treaty on climate change over the weekend in Warsaw, Poland.
The diplomats endorsed a set of measures that could be the foundation of a treaty that would be the first to limit pollution by all countries. The delegates authorized a “loss and damage” mechanism to help the poorest countries and took in $100 million in pledges from wealthier nations.
The most controversial issue — how to divide up emissions cuts — was not addressed by the delegates, however, but will be part of negotiations over the next two years. The goal is to have a treaty that can be adopted by 2015 to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which covers only a fraction of global emissions.
China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest polluter in 1997; but with the world’s second largest population, India is also contributing ever more to global pollution.