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Global climate deal signed at UN Paris climate talks

The Paris Agreement reached in December 2015 is a turning point for humanity. For the first time in history, all the world's people, rich and poor, have made a public commitment to change their actions to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Governments agreed to limit global warming to below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit to a 1.5°C warming. The scientific community has warned that warming above 2°C will cause catastrophic changes to our climate.

In the Paris agreement, 195 countries promised to change the way they use energy, and detailed those changes in the form of individual commitments known as NDCs.

Crucially, the agreement signed in Paris also provides a framework for rich nations to deliver $100bn in climate finance to help developing countries adapt and grow in a clean and sustainable manner.

The agreement came after months of campaigning and public pressure which saw cyclists journey across Africa and scores of pilgrims cross borders on their way to Paris to hand in 1.8 million petition signatures calling for an ambitious climate deal to be agreed. In response to these efforts, Christiana Figueres, Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change, wrote this letter of thanks.

Winning the fight against climate change requires more than an agreement. It is in the real world in the months and years to come that the strength of the Paris agreement will be determined.

With current commitments adding up to global warming that is closer to 3°C, governments must increase their commitments every five years to ensure the deal evolves to meet the needs of a changing world.

Now we are challenged to continue to work together to urge our governments to increase and deliver on their commitments and work towards a sustainable future for all.