Washington said the agreement marked a new chapter in climate diplomacy after six years of disputes with major allies since President George W. Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, the main existing plan for combating warming.
“This is the defining moment for me and my mandate as secretary-general,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said after making a return trip to Bali to implore delegates to overcome deadlock after the talks ran a day into overtime.
Ban had been on a visit to East Timor. “I am deeply grateful to many member states for their spirit of flexibility and compromise,” Ban told Reuters.
The Bali meeting approved a “roadmap” for two years of talks to adopt a new treaty to succeed Kyoto beyond 2012, widening it to the United States and developing nations such as China and India. Under the deal, a successor pact will be agreed at a meeting in Copenhagen in late 2009.
The deal after two weeks of talks came when the United States dramatically dropped opposition to a proposal by the main developing-nation bloc, the G77, for rich nations to do more to help the developing world fight rising greenhouse emissions.
The United States is the leading greenhouse gas emitter, ahead of China, Russia and India.