Passage of the agreement by delegates representing nearly 200 countries came after the talks were extended by a day, the BBC reported. Failure to approve the extension would have been considered a major setback in the worldwide effort to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
The pact, which had been scheduled to expire Dec. 31, only covers developed nations, which produce less than 15 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, the BBC said.
Voice of America reported earlier the delegates had been divided over key differences over how to attack the issue of climate change and how to pay for it. Developing nations want the wealthier countries to commit to increasing aid to them to $100 billion annually by 2020. Some countries also were balking at a proposal to raise the target for carbon emission cuts from 34 percent to 42 percent under the extension.
The Daily Telegraph of London reported Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said with its economy still struggling Britain could "ill afford" the billions of dollars year tougher emission rules would add to industrial costs.
"Ultimately it is the taxpayer or consumer who ends up footing the bill and if you end up putting too much of that cost on industry Britain becomes uncompetitive," he said.
Benny Peiser, of Lord Lawson's think tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the cost to industry would be passed on to consumers. "The more renewables you build, like wind, the more you need subsidies so it pushes energy bills up. If business has to pay higher bills the costs of products goes up."