Kerry spoke at the end of two weeks of tough negotiations, which took a dramatic turn in its final hours due to last-minute drama as India, backed by China and other coal-dependent developing nations, raised objections to a section on coal usage. The clause was hurriedly amended to ask countries to accelerate their efforts towards a coal power "phase down" instead of "phase out."
The compromise was necessary, Kerry told reporters, in order to avoid leaving with no deal after two weeks of hard debate.
Kerry said he would have preferred to keep the original language pointing to a "phase out".
"Is it everything that everybody wanted in every place? No," he said. "Sometimes you face tough choices in the business."