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Delegates from 193 nations representing the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) agreed Saturday on the 'Cancun Agreements,' a new global framework to help developing countries curb their carbon output and cope with the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, they did not agree on how the international aid will be funded. The agreement created a "Green Climate Fund" that will:

1) Transfer money from rich countries to poor ones;

2) Research centers that will ease the transfer of clean-energy technology; and

3) A system for developing nations to be compensated for keeping rain forests intact.

The delegation postponed  addressing how industrialized and major emerging economies will achieve deeper greenhouse-gas emission cuts within a new international agreement. In short, they did not decide whether the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the current global climate pact, will be extended once its first commitment period expires in 2012. The Kyoto Protocol has an agreed-upon goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. To achieve that, industrialized countries would have cut their emissions between 25 and 40 percent compared with 1990 levels in the next decade, as opposed to the 16 percent they have promised. None of the signatories have met their goals.

New language for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) establishes rules for calculating how much carbon is stored in forest stocks vulnerable to logging or burning, along with safeguards for rain-forest dwellers and biodiversity. (Wash Post, 12/12/2010)