India’s environment minister late on Friday likened Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa to a “goddess” as she won rave reviews for brokering a deal on climate change.
At a late-night session of the talks in Cancun, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh urged all nations to support the “balanced” compromise that he said took account of the points of view of all sides.
“The great Mexican revolutionary leader Porfirio Diaz had said the big challenge for Mexico is it is very close to its northern neighbor, but very far away from God,” Ramesh said. “But tonight, God has been very close to Mexico.”
“If I may say so, since I come from a country which has more goddesses than gods, not only has God been present, but a goddess has been present today,” he said.
Espinosa won high marks for ensuring transparency after last year’s chaotic Copenhagen summit, including by pairing developed and developing nations to work out key issues.
“Most importantly, you have restored the confidence of the world community in multilateralism and in the multilateral process,” Ramesh said.
The draft agreement, brokered over nearly two days of round-the-clock negotiations, sets up a new global fund to administer billions of dollars in financial assistance to developing countries.
It also calls anew on nations to make “deep cuts” in carbon emissions blamed for global warming, with a goal of keeping a rise in temperatures at no more than 2° above pre-industrial levels.
In his speech, Ramesh referred to an oft-quoted phrase attributed to Porfirio Diaz, a dictator who was overthrown shortly after the start of the Mexican revolution in 1910.