US President Barack Obama returned to snow-covered Washington early Saturday after clinching an "unprecedented" 11th-hour deal on climate change in Copenhagen.
Capping a whirlwind of shuttle diplomacy, Obama earlier said an "unprecedented breakthrough" had been reached among day-long meetings involving about two dozen presidents and prime ministers gathered in Copenhagen.
He admitted the so-called Copenhagen Accord -- a non-binding agreement -- did not go far enough, but characterized its provisions as "meaningful," arguing they provided a tool for ratcheting up action on greenhouse gases.
Although the deal set a goal to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (two degrees Celsius) and provided a monitoring regime, it listed no date for a binding international treaty or global targets to slash greenhouse gas emissions.
And hours after Obama and other key leaders flew home, delegates from 194 nations gathered to approve the text and met a raucous response from several developing states that resented not being part of the closed-door discussions.
AFP has contributed to the report.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now