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Climate deal to limit warming below 20C

Climate deal to limit warming below 20C
Highlights

An ‘ambitious and balanced’ deal on climate change will limit warming to ‘well below’ 2 degree C, according to France\'s foreign minister Laurent Fabius.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar (left) speaks with UNN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonParis: An ‘ambitious and balanced’ deal on climate change will limit warming to ‘well below’ 2 degree C, according to France's foreign minister Laurent Fabius.

Fabius said the accord negotiated at United Nations talks in Paris would be a "historic turning point" if it is adopted. "The world is holding its breath, it's counting on all of us," he added.

As well as the 2C target, the deal, which would be legally binding, includes a commitment by all countries to take action endeavouring to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels. The text will be taken up for consideration and adoption later.

The agreement comes after unprecedented negotiations involving 196 member-parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and intense pressure from civil society organisations.

At the tail end of the hottest year on record and after four years of fraught UN talks often pitting the interests of rich nations against poor, imperilled island states against rising economic powerhouses, Fabius urged officials from nearly 200 nations to support what he hopes will be a final deal.

"Our responsibility to history is immense," Fabius told thousands of officials, including President Francois Hollande and US secretary of state John Kerry, in the main hall of the conference venue on the outskirts of Paris.

Barring any last-minute objections, negotiators will reconvene to approve the agreement, a major breakthrough in global efforts to avert the potentially disastrous consequences of an overheated planet. Prior to the session, China's top negotiator Gao Feng said there "there is hope today" for a final pact, while Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony De Brum told Reuters: "I think we're done here."

A deal, if finalised, would be a powerful symbol to world citizens and a potent signal to investors - for the first time in over two decades, both rich and poor nations will agree to a common vision for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and a roadmap for ending two centuries of fossil fuel dominance.

While some climate change activists and US Republicans will likely find fault with the accord - either for failing to take sufficiently drastic action, or for overreacting to an uncertain threat - many of the estimated 40,000 officials and environmentalists who set up camp on the outskirts of Paris say they see it as a long overdue turning point.

Six years after the previous climate summit in Copenhagen ended in failure and acrimony, the Paris pact appears to have rebuild much of the trust required for a concerted global effort to combat climate change, delegates say.

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