World leaders may have given up on saving the planet from climate change, at the UN talks here on Friday. Instead, they are negotiating a declaration which could be aimed at saving face.

Leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, delayed their departure from Copenhagen on Friday evening when the conference was scheduled to end. There are reports that the UN secretary general may have asked them to stay overnight.

It's been apparent that there will be no legally-binding treaty or extension of the Kyoto Protocol here, but leaders are not even able to agree on a political declaration which would define what progress {ndash} if any {ndash} the world can take away from Copenhagen. With over 100 heads of state and government gathered here, they cannot afford to go home empty-handed.

However, the latest version of the declaration available at the time of going to print is being called a weak text, with few specifics pinning down commitments. It has no deadline for the finalisation of the negotiations. It also has no figures for emission reduction targets by developed nations by 2020, still using 'x' and 'y' to fill gaps in the text.

The language reflects the fundamental disagreements on the shape of a future global climate change regime. India has expressed disappointment, but pledged to work through the coming year for a better deal.

"The outcome may well fall short of expectations. Nevertheless, it can become a significant milestone," said Dr. Singh. "I therefore support calls for subsequent negotiations towards building a truly global and genuinely collaborative response to climate change being concluded during 2010," he added.

Mr. Obama warned against such a postponement of the talks. "These international discussions have essentially taken place now for almost two decades and we have very little to show for it other than an increase, an acceleration of the climate change phenomenon. The time for talk is over," he said.

Despite the hype of over 100 heads of state on a single platform, their speeches in the morning failed to bring anything new to the table, merely reiterating the divide between rich and poor countries here.

The 192 nations represented here are trying to craft a global climate change regime that will reduce the world's greenhouse gas emissions, and help poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change {ndash} droughts, floods and rising seas. They also need to aid the development and distribution of technology to reduce emissions and find the money to fund all this activity.

The talks have been hamstrung by rich nations insisting that large developing nations like India and China join a new legally binding treaty to cut emissions, while on the other side, developing countries are demanding that rich nations fulfil their legal obligations to reduce emissions and finance adaptation and tech transfer efforts in the first place.

Developing countries are not prepared to accept an "imperfect deal" that compromises the world's only legal treaty to combat climate change - the Kyoto Protocol. "President Obama said it was time to act. And if we are to act, then I have to ask you - starting from now, please fulfil the Kyoto Protocol," said Bolivia's President Evo Morales.

"I would love to leave Copenhagen with the most perfect document in the world... I'm not sure if some angel or wise man will come down to this plenary and put in our minds the intelligence that we lacked up until now. I don't know if that's going to be possible," said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.