Historic climate agreement reached

Climate change Minister Tim Groser says it's the first truly global agreement on climate change.
Climate change Minister Tim Groser says it's the first truly global agreement on climate change.

New Zealand politicians are welcoming the first universal deal to combat climate change forged in Paris.

After 13 days and nights of gruelling diplomacy, 196 parties reached a historic agreement to curb carbon emissions and restrict global warming to "well below" 2degC.

Talks pushed past the Friday night deadline and after a series of final-day delays, countries adopted the final text at about 7.30pm on Saturday (local time).

Climate change Minister Tim Groser says it's the first truly global agreement on climate change.

All countries are committing to take ambitious action.

"The agreement is a huge and historic step forward," says Mr Groser.

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw, who is at the talks, says it's not the perfect deal but it's an incredible achievement.

He says New Zealand's National party-led government must improve its performance on climate change.

"If we are to hold up our end of the deal, the National government needs to urgently commit to a range of measures to reduce pollution."

The deal includes an aspirational goal of limiting warming to 1.5degC, a level fought for by vulnerable nations like the Pacific Islands who believe 2degC would spell their demise.

It also requires countries to submit and review plans to slash emissions every five years to boost ambition over time.

Labour climate change spokeswoman Megan Woods says it's a landmark agreement.

The limit on global temperatures was more ambitious than many expected, she said.

"Credit has to go to our Pacific neighbours for the strong lobby they have put up to have this more ambitious target included," she said.

Mr Groser says New Zealand's 2030 target, to reduce emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels, is a strong contribution to the global effort.

"At the Conference, the prime minister announced New Zealand would provide up to $200 million in climate finance, particularly for Pacific Island countries, over the next four years," says Mr Groser.

It's the first global climate deal and the first legally binding climate agreement since the Kyoto Protocol, which only set firm targets for developed nations and wasn't ratified by all countries.

Country pledges are only predicted to limit global warming to around 2.7degC.

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