A U.N. climate conference reached a hard-fought agreement early today on a complex and far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change for the coming decades.
The 194-party conference in Durban agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime enforcing commitments to control greenhouse gases. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.
The deal also set up the bodies that will collect, govern and distribute tens of billions of dollars a year to poor countries to help them adapt to changing climate conditions and to move toward low-carbon economic growth.
Currently, only industrial countries have legally binding emissions targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Those commitments expire next year, but they will be extended for another five years under the accord adopted today.