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After more than 2 weeks of intense negotiations that followed years of wrangling, a global climate change agreement was signed today in Paris.

In an historic move, the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to hold the “increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue “efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.”

“Tremendous Victory”

“This is a tremendous victory for all of our citizens—not for any one country or any one bloc, but for everybody here who has worked so hard to bring us across the finish line,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It’s a victory for all of the planet and for future generations.”

Margaret Leinen, president of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) released a statement, saying, “Today, the world’s negotiators universally recognized that climate change and its effects are real and serious, and also that collective action can and will make a difference to lessen the most severe impacts on people’s lives and society at large.”

She continued, “We especially applaud the recognition in the Paris Agreement of the need to ensure the integrity of the ocean as an ecosystem, given the consequences of its warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification and oxygen levels.”

—Barbara T. Richman, Editor in Chief; email:

Citation: Richman, B. T. (2015), Historic climate agreement reached in Paris, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO041471. Published on 12 December 2015.

Text © 2015. The authors. CC BY-NC 3.0
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