Environmentalists have bemoaned an opportunity missed after the UN climate change conference in Doha ended at the weekend without taking any meaningful decisions.
A last-minute extension of the 1997 Kyoto agreement - which limits richer countries' gas emissions and had been due to expire at the end of this year - was agreed in a 36-hour final session at the end of the two-week conference.
The US rejected the agreement in 1997 and Russia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand have all refused to sign up to the extension, so the new pact only covers about 15 per cent of global emissions.
The two-decade-old climate change talks will now turn their attention to agreeing a wider-ranging treaty to take effect in 2020.
Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said the failure to agree any meaningful action to slash emissions left the world "teetering on the edge of catastrophic climate change."
He said: "Rarely has so little been achieved by so many powerful people gathered together in one place.
"Wealthy nations must shoulder the blame - they've put their short-term interests ahead of the well-being of billions of people around the globe."
And Mr Atkins warned that if climate change is left unchecked it "will cause economic mayhem that will dwarf our current financial difficulties."
Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo (pictured) agreed, branding the rate of progress "glacial."
He said European governments had lost credibility on climate change after refusing to significantly cut emissions.
And he accused the US delegation of "blocking progress on nearly every front."
But there was one small ray of hope for environmentally stricken states - rich countries agreed to provide aid for "loss and damage from climate change."
It's the first time the phrase has been included in an international legal document, but the US took pains to ensure there was no admission of legal liability in the agreement.
And it's not even clear if the aid will come out of existing humanitarian or disaster relief budgets.
Developed countries also failed to provide a timetable for the scaling up of climate aid to $100 billion (£62bn) annually by 2020 - something they agreed to three years ago.
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