THE PRESIDENT of COP26 has warned global nations that talks “must represent another gearshift” as time starts to run out for a global deal to avert climate catastrophe to be agreed.

On the penultimate day of talks at the Glasgow summit, the UK Government’s president of the event, Alok Sharma, has warned more work is needed if there to be a successful outcome from the crucial discussions.

Mr Sharma has stressed that talks “must represent another gearshift” as countries try to resolve political differences in a number of areas that still need to be hammered out.

He said: “I want to be clear, we are not there yet, there’s still a lot more work to be done.

“I know how hard you are all working, but today must represent another gearshift where negotiators finalise outstanding technical work and ministers dial up their engagement.”

Overnight, new draft texts were published for negotiations that are going on in a number of areas, including on providing future finance for poorer countries to develop cleanly and cope with the impacts of climate change – where Mr Sharma said he was concerned about progress.

There were also draft texts on supporting countries to adapt to climate change, and on addressing the loss and damage to vulnerable nations caused by climate-driven extreme weather, as well as parts of the so-called Paris rulebook to help make the global climate treaty agreed in 2015 operational.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries pledged to take action to curb global temperature rises to “well below” 2C and pursue efforts to limit rises to 1.5C, beyond which the worst impacts of climate change will be felt.

Scientists have warned that keeping temperature rises to 1.5C requires global emissions to be cut by 45% by 2030, and to zero overall by mid-century.

But countries’ plans for this decade – which they were supposed to develop in the run-up to the Glasgow summit – leave the world facing rises of at least 2.4C.

With Glasgow failing to close the gap, the pressure is now on countries to agree on a deal that will ensure they take mitigation action to cut emissions in the 2020s and keep the 1.5C goal within reach, as well as deliver more finance for poorer countries to tackle the crisis and to adapt to its effects.

As the negotiations continued with teams headed by ministers from countries around the world, the United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, warned that the central goal of keeping the target to limit global warming to 1.5C within reach was “on life support”.

Mr Guterres said: “The worst thing would be to reach an agreement at all costs by a minimum common denominator that would not respond to the huge challenges we face.

“It is the moment to reach agreement by increasing ambition in all areas: mitigation, adaptation and finance, in a balanced way,” he said.

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson returned briefly to the summit, where he urged leaders not to sit on their hands but to speak to negotiators to give them room to manoeuvre and get a deal done.

Progress is needed on areas such as finance and helping countries to adapt to climate impacts in order to deliver a balanced package that countries can support in the “cover decision” – the deal that could be struck in Glasgow.

A new draft of the cover decision is expected overnight on Thursday.

The first draft called on countries to develop more ambitious plans in the next year for cutting emissions up to 2030.

And they were urged to bring forward long-term net-zero plans, as well as action on climate finance, helping poorer countries to adapt to the impacts of global warming and to address the loss and damage they will inevitably suffer.

And it called for an acceleration in phasing out coal and subsidies for fossil fuels, a first for such a UN text, although that is likely to be getting major pushback from some quarters as negotiating teams consider the draft and will probably be lost from the final text.

On Wednesday, the US and China published a declaration that they would work together on enhancing emissions-cutting action in the 2020s to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord to limit global warming to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C.

It is hoped that the collaboration between the two major emitters will help to move the blocs of countries they are part of towards agreement in the last 48 hours of the talks, which are scheduled – but unlikely – to finish at 6pm on Friday.