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Paris UN climate agreement adopted after two weeks of talks in Paris

French President Francois Hollande (R), French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 Laurent Fabius, (C), and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon applaud after the final conference at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, on December 12, 2015. (AP photo)

World negotiators have adopted an agreement aimed at limiting global temperatures to less than 2C over the next few decades, after two weeks of high-level talks in the French capital, Paris.

On Saturday, leaders and ministers from nearly 200 countries formally accepted the final draft of the climate deal reached at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21).

The pact seeks to halt average warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures by 2050. It also sets out a goal of reaching a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, if possible.

The adopted text, which seeks to curb emissions as soon as possible, acknowledges that the risks of climate change are much more serious than previously thought.

The deal, which is to take effect in 2020, was adopted hours after negotiators agreed on the final draft.

French President Francois Hollande, who joined the meeting Saturday to add weight to the talks, called on representatives from some 195 countries attending the conference to take a “decisive” step in adopting the pact.

"France calls upon you to adopt the first universal agreement on climate," the French leader said.

This comes as more than 180 countries have already presented detailed national plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement also encourages wealthier nations to assist poor countries to cope with climate change.

Activists hold a giant red banner during a demonstration near the Arc de Triomphe at the Avenue de la Grande armee boulevard in Paris on December 12, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Protesters in Paris earlier dismissed the draft agreement of climate talks as too weak, saying it is insufficient to protect the planet.

Several environmental and human rights groups participating in the demos called attention to populations threatened by man-made global warming. The protesters also urged a decrease in the human use of oil, gas and coal.

Scientists and activists have long been urging a broad deal to be reached at the political level so that life-threatening catastrophes such as droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels could be averted.

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