Suzanne Goldenberg, John Vidal, Lenore Taylor, Adam Vaughan and Fiona Harvey in The Guardian:
Governments have signalled an end to the fossil fuel era, committing for the first time to a universal agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change.
After 20 years of fraught meetings, including the past two weeks spent in an exhibition hall on the outskirts of Paris, negotiators from nearly 200 countries signed on to a legal agreement on Saturday evening that set ambitious goals to limit temperature rises and to hold governments to account for reaching those targets.
Government and business leaders said the agreement, which set a new goal to reach net zero emissions in the second half of the century, sent a powerful signal to global markets, hastening the transition away from fossil fuels and to a clean energy economy.
The deal was carefully constructed to carry legal force but without requiring approval by the US Congress – which would have almost certainly rejected it.
After last-minute delays, caused by typos, mistranslations and disagreements over a single verb in the highly complicated legal text, Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, brought down a special leaf-shaped gavel to adopt the agreement. The hall erupted in applause and cheers. “It is a small gavel but I think it can do a great job,” Fabius said.