Representatives of 195 countries reached a landmark deal Saturday night at the COP21 climate change summit in Paris that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement, which follows two weeks of negotiations, sets the goal of limiting the world’s rise in average temperature to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

In this New York Times video, Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister and chair of the meeting, invites delegates to adopt the agreement. Bringing down the gavel to widespread applause, he says, “It is a small gavel but I think it can do a great job.”

Environmental organization Earthjustice summarizes the main tenets of the agreement:

— Hold the average increase in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, a goal that reflects the most current science on the maximum allowable rise in warming to reduce the risk of the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

— Review progress every five years, with the first review before 2020, and bring countries back to the table to increase their emissions reduction efforts.

— Robust transparency provisions to hold nations accountable to carry through on their pledges.

— Provide support to poorer countries to help them leapfrog to low-carbon development, adapt to climate change and cope with unavoidable loss and damage.

“Critics said the agreement would still condemn hundreds of millions of people living in low-lying coastal areas and small islands,” The Guardian comments. “But supporters said the negotiations took a significant step forward in getting countries to act together on a global challenge of immense complexity, and in sending a signal to global markets.”

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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