The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris has reached a final agreement to attempt to curb global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement on the climate agreement in the Cabinet Room of the White House on December 12, 2015. President Obama said on Saturday from the Cabinet Room at the White House, “The American people should be proud” because the landmark accord offered “the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet we’ve got.” Pool photo by Dennis Brack/UPI | License Photo
PARIS, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris has reached a final agreement to attempt to curb global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
The agreement, signed by 195 countries, is partly legally binding and partly voluntary. All countries will be required to take some action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of economic development, by 2020.
Intense negotiations took place in Paris for more than two weeks, leading to the first international agreement committing nations to reduce emissions on Saturday.
"This is truly a historic moment," the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told The New York Times. "For the first time, we have a truly universal agreement on climate change, one of the most crucial problems on earth."
Key points in the agreement include peaking greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieving a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, BBC News reports. The process will be reviewed every five years and a $100 billion a year climate finance fund for developing countries will be established by 2020, with further financing in the future.
A draft climate agreement unveiled from U.N.-backed talks in Paris kicks many of the critical issues down the road, environmental activists said.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the deal is "the best chance we have to save the one planet we have," adding that it could be a "turning point" toward a low-carbon future.
But the agreement has been criticized as not doing enough to protect vulnerable populations living near coasts and not being demanding enough to reduce global warming.
"It's outrageous that the deal that's on the table is being spun as a success when it undermines the rights of the world's most vulnerable communities and has almost nothing binding to ensure a safe and liveable climate for future generations," Nick Dearden, director of the Global Justice Now advocacy group, said.