But David Doniger, policy director of the Climate Center at the US Natural Resources Defence Council, said that the UN ruling means it has adopted “the accord in such a way that those countries [who had been opposed to it] were persuaded not to object”.
Barack Obama, the US president, had earlier hailed the agreement between the five nations as a success and said it would provide the framework for future talks.
“Today we have made a meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough here in Copenhagen,” he said on Friday evening.
“For the first time in history, all major economies have come together to accept their responsibility to take action to confront the threat of climate change.
“This progress did not come easily and we know this progress alone is not enough … We’ve come a long way but we have much further to go.”
But Lumumba Stanislas Dia-ping, Sudan’s representative and chair of a Group of 77 developing nations, said the accord meant “incineration” for Africa and likened it to the Holocaust.
The agreement “is a solution based on values, the very same values in our opinion that funnelled six million people in Europe into furnaces,” Dia-ping said.
Obama said the signatories to the deal had agreed to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius to help meet their new objective.
“What is important about this deal is what is not in it. There are no verifiable emission cuts targets, no number or dates, and crucially no deadline for when world leaders must come back together and put the terms of this deal into a legally-binding treaty”
Jonah Hull, Al Jazeera’s correspondent at the summit
The deal calls for the participating countries to list specific actions they have taken to control emissions and their commitments to achieve deeper reductions.
The agreement also includes a commitment by the countries to give developing nations $100bn dollars in assistance from 2020 to help them deal with climate change.
The deal includes some progress in helping developing nations cope with climate change, but it falls short of committing any nation to pollution reductions.
But many countries are angry they were excluded from the negotiations and have criticised the accord because it is non-binding and sets no overall target or time-scale for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
“You are going to endorse this coup d’etat against the United Nations,” Claudia Salerno Caldera, Venezuela’s representative, told Lars Loekke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister and the conference chairman, in a speech from the floor.
“Those of us who wish to speak have to make a point of order by cutting our hands and drawing blood,” she said, opening a red-stained palm.
Opposition to deal
Tuvalu’s Ian Fry, whose country is one of the most at risk from global warming, said the deal amounted to a betrayal.
“It looks like we are being offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people and our future,” he said.
“Our future is not for sale. I regret to inform you that Tuvalu cannot accept this document.”
Some European nations have accepted the deal, but Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said that it was “clearly below” the goal of the European Union.
“I will not hide my disappointment,” he said.
Jonah Hull, Al Jazeera’s correspondent at the summit, said that many countries have criticised the lack of detail in the US-backed accord.
“What is important about this deal is what is not in it. There are no verifiable emission cuts targets, no number or dates, and crucially no deadline for when world leaders must come back together and put the terms of this deal into a legally-binding treaty,” Hull said.
“The small island nations want to see a limit in temperature rises to 1.5C. They say that 2C just is not enough to save large areas of the planet from catastrophe.”