Kate Mackenzie Copenhagen: ‘Meaningful’ agreement reached, says US official – full text

“It’s not sufficient to combat the threat of change, but it’s an important first step.”

The following comments are from a US official, via our environment correspondent Fiona Harvey in Copenhagen. President Obama is expected to make a statement shortly. Update: the EU is also about to make a statement.

The US official’s statement follows:

Today, following a multilateral meeting between President Obama, Premier Wen, Prime Minister Singh, and President Zuma a meaningful agreement was reached. It’s not sufficient to combat the threat of climate change but it’s an important first step.

We entered this negotiation at a time when there were significant differences between countries. Developed and developing countries have now agreed to listing their national actions and commitments, a finance mechanism, to set a mitigation target of two degrees celsius and to provide information on the implementation of their actions through national communicatios, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines.

No country is entirely satisfied with each element but this is a meaningful and historic step forward and a foundation from which to make further progress.

We thank the emerging economies for their voluntary actions and especially appreciate the work and leadership of the europeans in this effort.

Note that the crucial matters of emissions commitments, financing mechanism, the 2 degree target and international monitoring are all mentioned.

Update 2: Brazil puts it another way, stressing this is only paving the way for a true agreement. Ed Crooks reports that Brazilian officials are saying the BASIC countries (Brazil, China, India, South Africa) met with Obama and ‘several important decisions were made’:

Which we hope will bring about a result which, if not what we expected from this meeting, may still be a way of salvaging something and paving the way to another meeting next year – or a series of meetings, it hasn’t been decided yet – to get a full result of this process.