Paris climate deal 'would be major leap for mankind'


French President Francois Hollande has urged countries to adopt the first universal climate change deal in history, telling them it would be a major leap for mankind.

In a rhetoric-laden speech that appeared to be aimed at those nations resistant to a deal, he called on ministers to make a choice for their country, their continent, "but also a choice for the world", so December 12, 2015 goes down in history.

The final draft of the deal, negotiated at United Nations talks in Paris, includes a target to keep temperature rises "well below" 2C and commits to strive to curb increases to 1.5C.

It also includes a five-year review system to increase ambition on cutting emissions, differentiation between countries as to their responsibilities for action, and finance for poor countries to deal with rising temperatures.

Mr Hollande said: "This text will, if you should so decide, be the first universal agreement in history on climate change."

He told them that, in the coming hours: "You will make a choice for your country, for your continent, but also a choice for the world. It will be a major leap for mankind."

He added: "History is here."

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who is chairing the climate talks, said: "It's my deep conviction that we have come up with an ambitious and balanced agreement".

He told ministers: "You are going to be deciding a historic agreement. The world is holding its breath, it's counting on all of us."

Delegates applauded the start of the meeting of the Paris Committee at the two-week talks, which have overrun their official Friday evening deadline.

If adopted the deal will be the world's first comprehensive climate agreement with all countries taking action to tackle the problem.

The text is still being translated and will be presented to delegates shortly, before a meeting of the whole conference scheduled for 3.45pm Paris time (2.45pm GMT).