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Climate Accord: Much Left to do

(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
In the end, this month's global climate conference in Copehagen left developing nations disappointed that no concrete commitments were made toward abating the effects of climate change. Developed nations were also worried their economies would suffer from being held to higher standards put in place before the conference began.

After a day of disarray and disagreement, five countries including the United States finally approved a plan to verify efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reports CBS News Correspondent Sheila MacVicar. But ultimately they didn't get what they really came here for, which was a legally-binding treaty among all countries to make concrete cuts in gas emissions and curb global warming. On Friday night, President Obama acknowledged there was much more work to do.

"We have to build some trust between developed and developing countries," Mr. Obama said Friday to a gathering of leaders from 193 countries. "Everyone recognizes we have to start working together. This is going to be hard. This is hard within countries. This is going to be even harder between countries."

Many of those developing countries will not likely be happy with the plan, The New York Times reported after the president's announcement. Under the plan, countries would be required to list actions they could take to fight global warming but not required to take those actions.

Even developed countries aren't like to be satisfied with the deal. Europeans told the Times the United States bears less of the burden with the deal. European industries could fall behind China and other major emitters of greenhouse gases because the European Union is bound by its own climate change program.

The frustrating day capped two years of negotiations by stalling over one country, MacVicar reported. China initially refused to accept international monitoring of its emission cuts. The U.S. had called any lack of transparency a "dealbreaker."

In a meeting between Mr. Obama and the Chinese premier that was meant to break the deadlock, the Chinese refused to budge after 55 minutes. Afterward, undiplomatic finger pointing started. Then tempers flared as Mr. Obama prepared for a second meeting with the Chinese, MacVicar reported.

The president called the plan reached with China, India and others to list what actions they will take to cut global warming pollution, which MacVicar reports is a meaningful breakthrough. But he also said there was what he called a fundamental deadlock in perspectives between rich nations like the U.S. and poorer countries. It's a deadlock that will have to be overcome for actual progress to come from the summit.

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com