The UN climate deal reached in Cancun is "really a beginning, not an ending," Robert Orr, the assistant secretary-general for strategic planning and policy coordination, briefed reporters here on Tuesday.
"While it is not the decisive final outcome, it shows the countries recognized they needed to come to term," Orr said.
"Ultimately they will only be able to solve this to mitigation commitments across the border," said the UN official who just came back from the Climate Change conference in Cancun.
Orr called the draft documents of the climate deal, which say deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed and include a fund to help developing countries, "a partial victory on moving forward in Kyoto protocol."
"Every country has to come to grips with their internal policy even though they are engaged in this very complex international negotiation," he said.
According to Orr, negotiating climate change is "the most complex negotiation in the history of the world."
But, "there is no alternative to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating process to get this deal done ultimately," he noted.
"Progress can be made on other fora, but it does need to come into this universal process and I think that valuation of the UNFCCC process was made by all delegations in the course of negotiation in Cancun," Orr said.
According to Orr U.S.-China relationships are fundamental to negotiating climate change. "A climate deal cannot happen in any satisfactory way without the United States and China fully on board."
Though the United States and China occupy a central position, " they're not the only piece of this puzzle," he said.