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In the final hours, a deal (of sorts) in Copenhagen

President Barack Obama swept into Copenhagen this morning and, after negotiating all day and late into the night (Denmark time), managed to secure an agreement in the final hours of the climate change conference.

If anyone could break an international stalemate, after all, it's this Nobel Peace Prize-winning super-president. But the deal is being called a "partial victory" at best, and a complete "COP out" at worst.

According to a New York Times report, the deal came following a "dramatic moment" in which Obama crashed a meeting of the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders, leading to new talks which "cemented key terms of the deal. . . "

A two-page draft text of the agreement obtained by The Guardian shows that it leaves much to be desired. According to the Guardian article, it says deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required, but doesn't give specific targets. It says countries "ought" to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, but doesn't obligate them to do so. The text was drafted by a select group of 28 leaders, including Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Environmental NGOs are weighing in with statements that range from hopeful to totally pissed off.

Bill McKibben at called it "a declaration that small and poor countries don't matter, that international civil society doesn't matter, and that serious limits on carbon don't matter.

"The president has wrecked the UN and he's wrecked the possibility of a tough plan to control global warming. It may get Obama a reputation as a tough American leader, but it's at the expense of everything progressives have held dear. 189 countries have been left powerless, and the foxes now guard the carbon henhouse without any oversight."

Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International, said: "The deal is a triumph of spin over substance. It recognizes the need to keep warming below 2 degrees but does not commit to do so. It kicks back the big decisions on emissions cuts and fudges the issue of climate cash."

The Sierra Club's executive director, Carl Pope, called it a "historic, if incomplete deal."

"A chilly two weeks in Copenhagen has given humanity its best chance of preventing the ravages of a warming world. Today's deal is neither perfect nor complete, but we must not this chance slip away."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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