DESPITE negotiators from around the globe remaining locked in crunch talks on the banks of the Clyde last night, it is clear that COP26 has not pushed efforts far or fast enough to limit global warning below dangerous levels.

The Glasgow summit, billed as the “last best change” to avert climate catastrophe, has fostered new pledges in the right direction – but more drastic action will be required to salvage the planet.

In the second draft version of the overarching ”cover decision” text that will underpin any global deal that is agreed, countries are requested to “revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets” in their national action plans by the end of 2022 – an admission efforts in Glasgow are set to fall short in going far enough.

Several crucial stumbling blocks appeared to remain last night – including over finance, the language used on commitments to phase out fossil fuels and the need for countries to return to the drawing board next year with more ambitious strategies.

But even before world leaders arrived in Scotland, the UK Government was franticly playing down expectations, despite hopes being pinned on the gathering.

Opening the conference, the Prime Minister warned his peers that if they failed to bring forward collective meaningful action, Glasgow would be remembered as “the historic turning point when history failed to turn”.

READ MORE: India will not become net zero until 2070 - 20 years after UN target date

US president Joe Biden raised positivity levels, stating he couldn’t pinpoint any previous occasion when “more has been accomplished dealing with climate change than these past two days”.

But the rest of the conference has appeared to fail in living up to the early buzz – when those in charge set out their aims and concerns.

The opening two days of COP26 saw a conveyor belt of hot air and warm words from world leader after world leader – seemingly on the same page about the scale of the mess we have got ourselves in.

But attempting to iron out how the commitments of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to 2C and aim for 1.5C – will be implemented by the near-200 countries that signed up to the pledge, was never going to be a walk in the park.

The first high-impact announcement came from India when prime minister Narendra Modi stated his country will become net zero by 2070. Despite being some 20 years after the UN recommendation, this was seen as a welcome step that the third biggest polluter had finally recognised that it must also end its contribution to climate change and will ramp up renewable energy significantly by 2030.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s cameo appearance at the SEC added some hysteria to the media circus that following the first few days of COP26 – with the Holywood star trading California for Finnieston.

HeraldScotland: Leonardo DiCaprio at COP26Leonardo DiCaprio at COP26

More focus from across the pond came when US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez arrived in Glasgow – but instead hit headlines for her quest for Scotland’s other national drink.

COP26 president Alok Sharma had placed global efforts on ending the use of coal high on his wish list for success at the Glasgow summit.

At least 23 nations made new commitments to phase out coal power, including five of the top 20 users – Indonesia, South Korea, Poland, Vietnam, Chile and Ukraine.

But the mood music quickly shifted.

The notable absence of India, China and the United States from the big promises on coal appeared to kill any momentum – as world leaders were served a stark reality check.

HeraldScotland: COP26 president Alok SharmaCOP26 president Alok Sharma

That led to more dampening of expectations – with Mr Sharma pleading that “another gearshift” was needed to salvage a meaningful deal.

The arrival of Barrack Obama also failed to focus attention on the task at hand.

The former US president, who helped draw up the Paris Agreement, called on all nations to play their part, insisting “we can’t afford to have anyone on the sidelines”.

He took aim at China and Russia’s leaders for snubbing COP26 – claiming their lacklustre plans “reflect a dangerous lack of urgency and willingness to maintain the status quo”.

But despite Mr Obama pointing the finger at Beijing, a glimmer of hope emerged as China and the United States announced a shock agreement.

The two biggest global polluters released a “joint Glasgow declaration on enhancing climate action in the 2020s” setting out how they would work together to cut emissions.

READ MORE: COP26: Sturgeon confirms Scotland 'considering joining' alliance to end oil and gas use

US climate envoy John Kerry said the collaboration included joint working to limit methane, setting out the need to phase down unabated coal this decade as fast as is achievable and agreeing to enforce their respective laws on deforestation.

The deal built on positive steps taken across different sectors in the opening days of the summit.

Other progress was made on reforestation with 110 nations – covering 85% of the world’s forests – signing a declaration to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

READ MORE: COP26: 100 world leaders to agree to end deforestation by 2030

More sunny steps were taken when dozens of countries agreed to cut methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade – including half of the world’s top 30 methane emitters.

But initial analysis of the pledges warned that these agreements would be nowhere near good enough to salvage efforts to keep the 1.5C ambition alive.

Research from Climate Action Tracker found the promises would close the gulf between the emissions put into the atmosphere and what is needed to limit dangerous levels of warming by 2030 by a measly 9% – meaning significant action would need to be drawn up in the headline text.

An integral part of global climate conferences is the protests that take place alongside proceedings – hoping to wake up those in charge to the urgency demanded for action.

Renowned climate activists Greta Thunberg arrived in Glasgow by train on the eve of the summit getting underway and was mobbed by campaigners as she came to have her say on COP26.

HeraldScotland: Greta Thunberg arrives in Glasgow for COP26Greta Thunberg arrives in Glasgow for COP26

The 18-year-old bluntly gave her verdict, telling fellow activists that COP26 was “now a global north greenwash festival, a two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah” as she branded it a failure.

One of the biggest barriers to unlocking action in the global south has been funding. Back in 2009, rich countries agreed to annually hand over $100 billion to help poorer nations mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The financial help was promised to begin in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic.

READ MORE: COP26: Warning 'glaring gaps remain' in phasing out coal

But commitments on the $100 billion had still not materialised as negotiations entered the final hours – and is not set to be rolled out in full until 2023 unless there is a late intervention.

The Scottish Government, limited in its role as a devolved nation, was roundly praised for putting loss and damage onto the agenda at COP26.

The SNP administration become the first government on the planet to take responsibility for the actions in rich countries causing damage in the global south.

The First Minister called on governments across the globe to follow her lead on loss and damage payments “not as an act of charity but as an act of reparation”.

READ MORE: Sturgeon calls on world leaders to follow Scotland with climate 'reparations'

Mr Johnson arrived back at COP26 for a few hours on Wednesday to try and ensure nations were taking the talks seriously enough.

In his plea, the PM called on his peers to “pull out all the stops” to agree a deal, warning that failure would be “an absolute disaster for the planet”.

He summed up the world leaders’ summit which opened COP26 as a “surge of activity”, but admitted “we are now finding things are tough”.

HeraldScotland: Prime Minister Boris JohnsonPrime Minister Boris Johnson

But the PM was also having to bat away awkward questions over the sleaze scandal engulfing his Tory party at Westminster – not a particularly welcome change from the row with France over fishing that threatened to overshadow the opening of COP26.

But Mr Johnson didn’t stick around to ensure the talks made it over the line – prompting the First Minister to demand he return to Glasgow.

As the rain descended on Glasgow, the mood entering the final day of COP26 was flat and pretty dismal.

The updated draft text, published yesterday morning appeared to water down commitments on fossil fuels while pledges to speed up the $100 billion payments remained missing.

READ MORE: COP26: Warning fossil fuel pledges 'critically weakened' in updated draft agreement

The first draft of the cover decision called for countries “to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”.

But the second draft changed the wording and was now appealing for nations to accelerate the shift to clean energy systems, “including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation and accelerating the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”.

It’s still unclear whether a meaningful deal will be struck in Glasgow to impact the climate crisis – but it is possible the city could be handed an unwelcome legacy for failing to deliver the expectations of the world.