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World leader agree to a universal climate deal at COP21

Nearly 200 countries have agreed to a deal to combat climate change and its impacts.

(L-R) Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon, Foreign Affairs Minister and President-designate of COP21 Laurent Fabius, and France's President Francois Hollande raise hands together after adoption of a historic global warming pact at the COP21 Climate Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris, on December 12, 2015. Envoys from 195 nations on December 12 adopted to cheers and tears a historic accord to stop global warming, which threatens humanity with rising seas and worsening droughts, floods and storms. Picture: AFP.

PARIS - The world finally has a universal climate accord.

Nearly 200 countries have agreed to a deal to combat climate change and its impacts at the COP21 climate talks in Paris.

World leaders agreed to adopt an "ambitious and balanced" final deal, including a "legally-binding" agreement to keep global warming well below two degrees celsius.

Some key points from the text:

  • Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below two degrees celcius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees celcius above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

  • Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognising that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

  • Prior to 2025 the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement shall set a new collective quantified goal from a floor of 100 billion dollars per year, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius banged down his gavel to rapturous applause, signalling the deal was agreed by nearly 200 nations.

Additional reporting by Reuters.