As part of a broad pact, nations will agree in some sort of a legal format to curb their carbon emissions. The talks also launched the Green Climate Fund, which would essentially channel about $100 billion by 2020 to vulnerable countries to help them deal with the effects of climate change.
U.S. chief negotiator Todd Stern described the talks as "tough" but worthwhile. "For the first time there is an agreement to negotiate a legal accord of some sort, a legal instrument that is applicable to all countries -- that is a new thing. That means China, India and Brazil -- and there is no hedging in it," Stern said.
So they have an agreement to agree, later, sort of. Or at least an agreement that they ought to agree. Well, um, at a minimum it extends the Kyoto commitments for a new period, although technically it doesn't have any of the real carbon emitters actually committing to it. But hey, they set up a new Green Climate Fund of hundreds of billions of dollars. Of course, there is no funding source. And truth be told, the chances of even this load of non-commitments ever being ratified by the Senate is about the same as the earth not having to worry about warming because Hell just froze over.