Dec 15 (Reuters) - U.N.-led climate change talks in Bali finally agreed on Saturday to launch negotiations on a new pact to fight global warming, after a last-minute U.S. reversal allowed a breakthrough.
Below is a summary of some of the high and low points of the two-week talks.
DRAMATIC FINAL SESSION
A deal was only agreed after a day of high drama and emotional speeches, including several standing ovations, a last-minute plea for compromise by Indonesia's president and the head of the United Nations and booing for the U.S. delegation.
The exhausted-looking head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, Yvo de Boer, rushed out near to tears after repeated criticism by China of a planning mistake that left their senior delegates outside the room when a key motion was proposed.
And after the U.S. refused to agree to a developing world proposal backed by all other delegations, Papua New Guinea delegate Kevin Conrad called on Washington to "get out of the way" if it didn't want to lead the fight against climate change.
The United States backed down, earning a round of applause from other delegates.
Activists dressed as polar bears, despite the tropical heat, paraded outside the conference with signs saying "save humans", to remind delegates climate change is already hurting the poor.
AL GORE SPEAKS
Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore swept into the talks like a movie-star, the day after picking up the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change.
He kept an audience of hundreds spellbound and drew cheers and rapturous applause when he told them the United States was the main block to launching negotiations in Bali.
AUSTRALIA HANDS OVER KYOTO PAPERS
An announcement by a senior delegate on the opening day that Australia's new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was going to hand over documents ratifying the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations as his first official act drew two rounds of applause.
Rudd said his own country was already suffering from global warming, and described climate change as one of humanity's great moral and economic challenges.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the deal was the defining moment of his mandate, after flying back into Bali on Saturday for an 11th-hour appeal that restarted negotiations that had nearly broken down over a rift between rich and poor.
Ban had already addressed the talks on Wednesday, urging more than 120 environment ministers to agree to work out a new climate treaty by 2009, and describing the fight to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses as the "moral challenge of our generation".
A solar taxi that cost as much as two Ferraris and has driven nearly 15,000 km without petrol, picked up the head of the U.N. Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, from the airport.
BICKERING BETWEEN EU AND UNITED STATES
The second week of talks was dominated by high-profile bickering between the European Union and the United States, over whether the deal needed to include specific emissions reduction targets for rich nations.
The EU threatened to boycott talks Washington will host next year for 17 top greenhouse gas emitting nations.
By Saturday morning, almost everyone was short of sleep after days of intensive talks -- although some delegations tried to turn the bags under their eyes into a negotiating tool.
"Around 2 a.m., when everyone's a little sleepy, then you can get certain compromises," said Emil Salim, the head of the Indonesian delegation.
NOT WORTH THE EMISSIONS?
Some delegates and activists were not sure the compromise deal reached at the talks was worth the carbon emissions notched up in negotiating it.
"There was no need for 12,000 people to gather here in Bali to have a watered down text, we could have done that by email," Angus Friday, chair of the Alliance of Small Island states, said when talks wound up late on Friday. -- For Reuters latest environment blogs click on: blogs.reuters.com/environment/ (Editing by Alison Williams)