Newspaper headlines by their nature are expected to state what happened, not what did not happen, because what did not happen is not, after all, news.
Unlike the headline above.
But the truth of the modest deal that emerged between 190 nations negotiating at Cancun, under the auspices of the United Nations, is that the conference did avoid failure, unlike what happened last year in Copenhagen, in which high hopes for a major new deal went down in flames.
In this context any victory, no matter how small, still counts. From the start of the conference, when Japan threatened to pull out of the long-standing (if ineffective) Kyoto deal, to the end, when Mexican foreign minister Patricia Espinosa had to move heaven and earth to keep the talks alive, prospects were uncertain, and failure a real possibility.
The New York Times reports:
The agreement sets up a new fund to help poor countries adapt to climate changes, creates new mechanisms for transfer of clean energy technology, provides compensation for the preservation of tropical forests and strengthens the emissions reductions pledges that came out of the last United Nations climate change meeting in Copenhagen last year.
Now to see if the developed nations will live up to their promises to the undeveloped nations, to help them with clean energy projects, and to adapt to a changing climate. To date: Not so much.
Here's a pic of a Greenpeace "demonstration" in the water at the conference: Clever!