NICOLA Sturgeon has pointed to “understandable disappointment that key issues were watered down in the final hours” of COP26 - after a last-minute intervention altered a global commitment to phase out fossil fuels.

Campaigners have claimed that "COP26 will be remembered as a historic failure” on closing the gap to limit global warming.

The summit's president warned that efforts to limit global warming below 1.5 "will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action".

Despite the last-gasp changes put forward by India, countries agreed to strengthen their emissions-cutting targets for 2030 by the end of next year in a bid to limit dangerous warming - but have been accused of "kicking the can down the road".

As the final Glasgow Pact document was being agreed, India and China called for a change from escalating the “phase out” of unabated coal, to “phase down”, prompting angry responses from European and vulnerable countries.

But it is the first explicit mentions of fossil fuels in a UN climate agreement.

The last-minute proposal was put forward by India after frantic negotiations between the US, EU, China and India and the UK presidency of the COP26 talks.

READ MORE: COP26: Glasgow Pact 'watered down' with last minute changes

COP26 President Alok Sharma was forced to apologise for the way in which the change happened, and seemed briefly close to tears.

He said: “We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action. I am grateful to the UNFCCC for working with us to deliver a successful COP26.

“From here, we must now move forward together and deliver on the expectations set out in the Glasgow Climate Pact, and close the vast gap which remains. Because as Prime Minister Mia Mottley told us at the start of this conference, for Barbados and other small island states, ‘two degrees is a death sentence’.

“It is up to all of us to sustain our lodestar of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach and to continue our efforts to get finance flowing and boost adaptation. After the collective dedication which has delivered the Glasgow Climate Pact, our work here cannot be wasted.”

The First Minister has acknowledged that the wording on fossil fuels is “not as strong and clear as it should be” as she stressed that Scotland “needs to accelerate - in a way that is fair and just” the “reliance on fossil fuels” - adding that it was “a journey Scotland has already embarked on”.

She said: “The Glasgow Climate Pact does not contain everything that every country wanted and there is understandable disappointment that key issues were watered down in the final hours, but there can be no doubt that the Glasgow summit has made progress on some important issues.

READ MORE: Recap: Glasgow braces for legacy of failed action

“The importance of capping temperature increases at 1.5 degrees is no longer questioned and the need for countries to come back next year with higher contributions to tackling emissions may just be enough to keep 1.5 alive – if countries including Scotland really do deliver on our commitments.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “There is also recognition for the first time, although it is deeply disappointing that due to last minute interventions by China and India it is not as strong and clear as it should be, of the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, a journey Scotland has already embarked on - and needs to accelerate - in a way that is fair and just.

“While there has been much positive progress, there is no escaping the fact that COP26 has not delivered as much as global south countries, activists and campaigners rightly demanded and I firmly believe that the leaders of the rich developed countries must go further.”

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: “We came into Glasgow expecting actions to keep 1.5 alive, and we leave with that ambition still within reach – but only just. Much more still needs to be done, but with agreement on several key issues, including on the critical role nature can play, and with countries now required to return next year with improved plans, there is still hope.

“We’re in the middle of a climate emergency, but recent analysis of pledges by countries made to date mean we are still on track for warming above 2 degrees – a future that will be catastrophic for millions of people and for nature. Therefore, the last-minute watering down on curbing the use of coal in the final text was a major disappointment.

“So, it’s now time for world leaders to keep their climate promises. There’s no time to waste. We can no longer delay delivery on emissions cuts, only a rapid and sustained increase in real action by nations will do now.”

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns claimed that the summit “will be remembered as a historic failure to close the gap” of limiting lobal warming to 1.5C, adding that in Glasgow, “rich nations shamelessly shirked their responsibility to clean up the mess that they created”.

She added: "Countries including the UK, the US and the EU are failing to cut climate pollution fast enough, failing to deliver the finance they owe countries already bearing the brunt of climate breakdown, and instead spending their energy inventing loopholes and get out clauses to avoid taking action.

"Despite this, we leave COP26 with real hope in our hearts, because people all over the world are rising up to demand climate justice in greater strength and unity than ever before.

"We've come together here in Glasgow as a powerful and diverse movement that recognises the root cause of the climate crisis is an economic system which is also driving multiple other injustices we are struggling against - poverty, racism, sexisim, nature destruction to name but a few.

"We are rising up against this system that prioritises profit over people, and we will not give up until we have created the better world we know is possible."

Tom Ballantine, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, added: “World leaders arrived at COP26 knowing that this summit needed to be a turning point in tackling the climate crisis, but instead of committing to the emissions cuts needed to keep temperature rises below 1.5 degrees, they again ‘kicked the can down the road’.

“While we’ve seen some announcements during these talks which, if delivered, could make a difference, many are vague and non-binding. The negotiated deal, the Glasgow Climate Pact, fails to reflect the urgency of reducing emissions now. It is essential that countries significantly strengthen their climate plans well before COP27 next year. Further delay will cost lives.

"Ultimately, wealthy countries at COP26 in Glasgow have not delivered on the promise made twelve years ago at COP15 in Copenhagen, to provide $100bn a year by 2020 to help vulnerable and poorer nations to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change impacts.

“Critically, rich nations who have been responsible for historic emissions have failed to provide the vital new funding needed to address irreversible climate impacts to vulnerable nations, known as loss and damage. It is absolutely unfair and unacceptable to leave those who did not cause the damage to pick up the tab.”