Nearly 200 nations have agreed rules on implementing the 2015 Paris agreement.
After marathon talks in the Polish city of Katowice the rulebook was approved unanimously on Saturday evening.
The agreement aims to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature rises to well below 2C.
The final session was delayed by more than 30 hours amid an ongoing stand-off over carbon markets to reduce emissions. Some accused the hosts of not shepherding the agreement through.
“Putting together the Paris agreement work programme is a big responsibility,” said the chairman of the talks, known as COP24, Michal Kurtyka.
“It has been a long road. We did our best to leave no-one behind.”
Rich nations often reduce emissions by paying for carbon-cutting projects in other countries. But these programmes are very difficult to police.
Fraud and double accounting have rendered many of them worthless – they are often dubbed hot air schemes.
The common rulebook envisages flexibility for poorer nations.
Developing countries seek recognition and compensation for the impact of rising temperatures.
The idea of being legally liable for causing climate change has long been rejected by richer nations, who fear huge bills well into the future.
Last weekend, scientists and delegates were shocked when the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected to the meeting “welcoming” a recent UN report on keeping global temperature rise to within the 1.5C limit.
The report said the world is now completely off track, heading more towards 3C this century.
Keeping to the preferred goal would need “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.