COP21 delegates to work through the night to finalise climate accord

The draft document has been slimmed downed, bringing delegates closer to an agreement.

FILE: Environmental activists and supporters take part in a rally calling for action on climate change in New York on 29 November, 2015, a day before the start of the COP21 conference in Paris. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Nearly 200 ministers at the COP21 climate talks in Paris are grappling with the new draft text of an agreement, the closest the world has ever come to a universal climate accord.

French Foreign Minister and conference President Laurent Fabius says they should be preparing to work through the night and into tomorrow to finalise the text, before Friday's deadline.

There was excitement amongst the delegates in le Bourget. There's been remarkable progress.

From a bulky 48 pages on Saturday, it's been slimmed down to just 29.

It now contains just 367 square brackets, or options still to be decided, down from over 900.

Most significantly, it contains the phrase 1,5 degrees.

Scientists say that if temperatures rise beyond two degrees Celsius, the world faces dangerous and potentially catastrophic climate change.

But the most vulnerable nations say it's not enough and that the difference between capping global warming at 1,5 degrees and two is millions of lives.

It appears they may have won out.

It may seem a small victory but it's a critical one raising the level of urgency here for the rest of the week.