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Cancun delegates reach climate change deal

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: U.S. President Barack Obama praises conclusion of the Cancun climate conference
  • Bolivia claims rich nations "bullied" other countries into accepting the deal
  • The UN's chief negotiator says the deal "reignited" hope in talks
  • The agreement includes plans for a fund to help developing nations
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Cancun, Mexico (CNN) -- Delegates at the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, approved an agreement early Saturday, despite objections from Bolivia and with praise from the United States government.

On Saturday, the White House said President Barack Obama congratulated Mexican President Felipe Calderon on the conference's conclusion in a phone call.

"Obama congratulated President Calderon for his leadership and Mexico's excellent work chairing the Cancun conference to a successful conclusion," the White House said in a statement, "that... advances the effort to address the challenge of climate change."

Bolivia's government, meanwhile, claimed rich nations "bullied and cajoled" other countries into accepting a deal on their terms.

Protesting the overrule of its country's vote, Bolivia's Foreign Ministry called the Cancun text "hollow" and ineffective in a written statement.

"Its cost will be measured in human lives. History will judge harshly," the statement said, adding that developing nations will face the worst consequences of climate change.

The agreement includes plans to create a $100 billion fund to help developing nations deal with global warming and to increase efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation.

Mexico's Calderon hailed the deal, the culmination of an marathon overnight session at the end of two weeks of talks.

"It begins a new era of cooperation in climate change. They are the first steps in this long and renewed campaign," he said.

Christiana Figueres, the UN's chief negotiator at the conference, said the results had "reignited" hope in climate change talks.

"Nations have shown they can work together under a common roof, to reach consensus on a common cause. They have shown that consensus in a transparent and inclusive process can create opportunity for all," she said in a statement.

But Bolivia said Saturday's agreement did not go far enough.

A key sticking point was the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012 and sets greenhouse gas emissions targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European Union.

"For us, this is not a step forward. It is a step back, because what is being done here is postponing without limit the discussion on the Kyoto Protocol," Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon told delegates early Saturday.

The agreement does not specify what will happen once the Kyoto Protocol expires, postponing the debate until the next scheduled climate talks in South Africa in 2011.

Despite Bolivia's objections, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, who chaired the summit, said a decision had been reached and swiftly banged her gavel, saying the text had been approved.

"It is less than what is needed, but it represents a significant step in the right direction," Calderon told delegates.

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet and Mario Gonzalez contributed to this report.

 
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