United Nations climate talks in Scotland have ended with a global agreement that aims at least to keep alive hopes of capping global warming at 1.5C, and so maintain a realistic chance of saving the world from catastrophic climate change.
Alok Sharma, the conference chairman, banged down his gavel to signal that there were no decisive objections from the almost 200 delegations present in Glasgow, ranging from coal- and gas-fuelled superpowers to oil producers and Pacific islands fearing a rise in sea levels.
The deal is the result of two weeks of tortuous negotiations in Glasgow that had to be extended for an extra day to balance the demands of climate-vulnerable countries, big industrial powers and those whose consumption or exports of fossil fuels are vital to their economic development.
"Please don't ask yourself what more you can seek but ask instead what is enough," Sharma told delegates in the closing hours.
"Most importantly - please ask yourselves whether ultimately these texts deliver for all our people and our planet."
The overarching aim set by conference host the United Kingdom was one that climate campaigners and vulnerable countries had found far too modest - namely, to keep within reach the 2015 Paris Agreement's target to cap global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
A draft deal circulated early on Saturday in effect acknowledged that commitments made so far to cut emissions of planet-heating greenhouse gases are nowhere near enough, and asked countries to set tougher climate pledges next year, rather than every five years, as they are currently required to do.
Scientists say that to go beyond a rise of 1.5C would unleash extreme sea level rise and catastrophes including crippling droughts, monstrous storms and wildfires far worse than those the world is already suffering.
But countries' pledges made so far to cut greenhouse emissions - mostly carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and gas - would only cap the average global temperature rise at 2.4C.
However, Saturday's draft, published by the United Nations, did call for efforts to reduce coal use and also the huge subsidies that governments around the world give to the oil, coal and gas that power factories and heat homes - something that no previous climate conference had managed to agree on.
India - whose energy needs are hugely dependent on coal - made last-minute objections to this part of the agreement.
The Australian representative had told the COP26 summit he did not object to the language around coal or fossil fuel subsidies in the draft document.
"Australia can accept the present text and we call on all parties to look at how we can come together to deliver a successful outcome from COP26," he said.
Envoys from the United States and European Union then met with their Chinese and Indian counterpart to discuss details of an agreed phase-out of coal, according to a member of the Indian delegation.
Immediately before the meeting, US special envoy John Kerry was overheard by Reuters telling his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua "You're supposed to be phasing out coal over the next 20 years, you just signed an agreement with us".
Sharma said on Saturday night he was "deeply sorry" for how the gathering concluded with last minute changes on the wording about coal.
His voice breaking with emotion after hearing from vulnerable countries which expressed their anger over the changes to the text, he said: "May I just say to all delegates I apologise for the way this process has unfolded and I am deeply sorry."
"I also understand the deep disappointment but I think as you have noted, it's also vital that we protect this package."
Developing countries argue that rich countries, whose historical emissions are largely responsible for heating up the planet, must pay more to help them adapt to its consequences as well as reducing their carbon dioxide footprints.
The UK tried to unblock the issue of climate finance, one of the thorniest, by proposing mechanisms to make sure the poorest countries finally get more of the financial help they have been promised.
The draft urged rich countries to double finance for climate adaptation by 2025 from 2019 levels, offering funding that has been a key demand of small island countries at the conference.
Adaptation funds primarily go to the very poorest countries and currently take up only a small fraction of climate funding.
The UK also said a UN committee should report next year on progress towards delivering the $US100 billion ($A136 billion) per year in overall annual climate funding that rich countries had promised by 2020 but failed to deliver.
And it said governments should meet in 2022, 2024 and 2026 to discuss climate finance.
Even $US100 billion a year is far short of poorer countries' actual needs, which could hit $US300 billion by 2030 in adaptation costs alone, according to the UN, in addition to economic losses from crop failure or climate-related disasters.
Australian Associated Press
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