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Obama brokered the beginnings of a pact in Copenhagen, but almost no one is pleased with the contents.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Barack Obama called it an "unprecedented" and "meaningful" agreement.
But the U.S. president flew out of Copenhagen leaving anger and confusion in his wake as environmental campaigners condemned a summit failure and developing nations threatened to block approval of the deal Obama negotiated.
"Industrialized nations have decided that damage to developing countries is acceptable, said Sudan's Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, who has been speaking for a group of 77 developing nations at the talks. "This is not the end of the game. There is no deal."
Opposition from the likes of Sudan forced the summit into the small hours of the morning Saturday even after Obama left declaring qualified success after he negotiated a compromise with the leaders of China, India, Brazil and South Africa after a day of dramatic diplomatic maneuvering.
Despite the objections, officials said they expected the deal to go through, after the European Union reluctantly backed it even though it fell short of the EU's orginal hopes for a binding agreement committing other major economies to significant emissions cuts.
"This is not a perfect agreement, it will not solve the climate threat," admitted Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, speaking for the 27-nation bloc. "It's a start that needs to be developed near the start of next year."
Obama too acknowledged that the deal was a beginning rather than an end to efforts to limit global warming.
“We have come a long way, but we have much further to go,” he said, adding that turning the Copenhagen declaration into a legally binding treaty, "is going to be very hard, and it’s going to take some time.”
However he said the deal was a major step. "For the first time in history all major economies have come together to accept their responsibility to take action to confront the threat of climate change," Obama said.
Environmental campaigners however erupted with anger, claiming the summit billed as the best last chance to head off the catastrophic impact of global warming had been wasted. Demonstrators outside the conference center carried placards with the words "climate shame" written across a photo of Obama.
“The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport," said Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo.
"World leaders had a once-in-a-generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through," he added as Obama and other leaders left the summit ahead of a final debate on the deal.