Countries focus on climate change

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In the US, more than 150 nations gathered last month at the United Nations headquarters in New York to sign the historic Paris climate accord.

The event reflected the pledges made at COP21 in December last year, for countries voluntarily to reduce fossil-fuel emissions to try to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above temperatures at the start of the industrial revolution.

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The commitments will require huge shifts in the ways societies generate energy, fuel vehicles and run factories. It goes further than any previous climate agreement, applying to developed and developing nations alike. The deal is estimated to cost some $12.1 trillion over the next 25 years for the 195 countries that have said they will sign the agreement, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Scientists say however, even if all 195 nations meet their individual targets, temperatures will continue to rise over the next several decades before the momentum of global warming tapers off. So, in a bid for nations to do more, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has challenged leaders to go beyond the agreements brokered in Paris, which he believes should be seen as a starting point to fighting global warming.

Meanwhile, Australia may well pledge stronger emissions reduction commitments in 2030 as it takes advantage of the improving economics of clean energy according to research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The nation has set a target to reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Instead, analysts anticipate that the nation could target reductions of up to 63%.