With the unexpected support of the United States and Europe, the agreement, due to be completed within days, seems set to go beyond the current goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels.

Instead, the latest draft released late yesterday, states a new goal to keep the rise "to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius". It is the first draft that does not offer alternate options for the goal.

Even though the cuts to greenhouse gas emissions being pledged in Paris will not come close even to limiting the rise to 2C, an explicit recognition of how much more is needed could still set the world on a path to more decisive action in future.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Wednesday that the United States would join around 100 countries in a 'high ambition coalition' seeking to go beyond 2C, a level that low-lying island states such as the Marshall Islands say may not be enough to stop them being submerged by the end of the century.

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