THE decade-long battle over climate policy which has driven the Liberal Party towards near-terminal instability ended today with a Malcolm Turnbull victory.

That is the strong prospect after a substantial government back bench endorsement of the National Energy Guarantee today saved the Prime Minister’s job and reinforced confidence he can complete its implementation.

Mr Turnbull was denied a Tony Abbott surrender but the former prime minister is now even more isolated and detached from mainstream policy discussion.

Mr Abbott’s coal-or-nothing approach to energy supply once was the accepted view of the party but now appears dated and unsustainable.

That won’t stop him from protesting further, even to the extent of crossing the floor as leader of a small band of rebels.

Climate change divided the Coalition, particularly the Liberals, almost as soon at Labor’s Kevin Rudd was elected in 2007. And it quickly became an issue which would decide the Liberal leadership.

It was central to Mr Abbott replacing Mr Turnbull as Opposition Leader in 2009; it was highlighted by Mr Turnbull crossing the floor to support a Rudd emission trading scheme in February 2010, a tactic Mr Abbott is now threatening with the NEG; and had a strong presence in Mr Turnbull’s ousting of Mr Abbott as Prime Minister in 2015.

Mr Abbott credits his strategy of alarmist hyperpartisanship — as he later identified it — on emissions for being able to successfully club the stances of Labor’s Mr Rudd and Julia Gillard.

He became so committed to fighting emission reductions and boosts to renewables while Opposition Leader he could not turn off the strategy when Prime Minister, or since.

He did approve Australia signing the Paris Agreement on emission reductions, but recently has in effect said he hadn’t understood the agreement because public servants had misled him.

Mr Turnbull in particular will appreciate how the climate change club has wilted.

The other winner was Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, once a coal champion who has produced an all-singing, all-dancing policy aimed at sectional issues.

His NEG is not considered brilliant by all, but has been grabbed as the best plan on offer by colleagues exhausted by the draining internal divisions.

He is the architect of a program aimed at assuring business there will be policy and supply certainty to encourage greater industry investment, while also promising cheaper electricity for homes.

Plus, the minister has convinced enough of his colleagues the NEG will lower emissions at a rate which will honour commitments without hobbling the economy.

The NEG road ahead is still cluttered with obstacles with Mr Frydenberg still to get the backing of all states and territories. That seems more likely given the renewed government’s firming of commitment and the urging of business for acceptance.

States will pass their own legislation but the Federal Government will have to legislate on the sensitive matter of emission reductions linked to the National Energy Guarantee. And that won’t be an easy task.

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster,” former Liberal now Australian Conservative Cory Bernardi told Sky News today.

The Greens will reject the federal legislation.

Labor also is seriously questioning the NEG but could be tempted to highlight government divisions.

The temptation would be for Labor for the Coalition and Labor sitting together on one side of the House of Representatives while Tony Abbott and a few others crossed the floor to sit with the Greens’ Adam Bandt.