An 'historic' deal has been announced at COP21, with nations across the world agreeing to limit global warming to below 2C by the end of the century. At the Paris climate change summit, delegates agreed to the proposals put forward in a draft document earlier today (12 December).

A total of 195 countries have backed the deal which aims to limit the rise in global warming by reducing carbon emissions.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has hailed the accord a 'huge step' towards securing the future of the planet. He added that the deal "means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change. It's a moment to remember and a huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet," he said.

Writing on Twitter US President Barack Obama said: "This is huge: Almost every country in the world just signed on to the on climate change—thanks to American leadership."

Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, praised the decision saying: "The Paris Agreement is a critical step forward for addressing climate change."

The announcement was delayed after world leaders spent longer than expected looking over the 31 page document, which lays out how countries will ensure greenhouse gas emissions will not lead to the world going over the 2C 'tipping point'. It also details how wealthier countries will help developing nations to become sustainable, with technology and funding.

Before the announcement was made, the US, China and India had shown support for the agreement. Gurdial Singh Nijar, spokesperson for the Like Minded Developing countries group (which includes Saudi Arabia and India) told the BBC they were happy with the deal: "India agrees. China agrees. Saudi Arabia agrees. The Arab group agrees," he said.

After 16 hours of intense discussions which formed the draft text, the Paris Agreement was finally passed with no objections by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, bringing to an end four years of negotiations. Mr Fabius told the hall: "I now invite the COP [conference of the parties] to adopt the decision. I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted," he said to the sound of cheers and a standing ovation.

The French Foreign minister was reminded that in accordance with custom, he was required to bang his ceremonial gavel in order for the agreement to be formally passed. "I'm being reminded I'm supposed to bang the gavel. It's a small gavel, but it can do a great job," he said. He described the accord as "ambitious and balanced" adding that it would mark a "historic turning point".

Earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had made an impassioned plea to the diplomats charged with negotiating the deal urging them to act in "the international interest." "The whole world is watching. Billions of people are relying on your wisdom," he said. "The time has come to acknowledge that national interests are best served by acting in the international interest. We have to do as science dictates. We must protect the planet that sustains us. We need all our hands on deck."

With 2015 forecast to be the hottest year on record, world leaders and scientists have warned a deal on limiting greenhouse gases is vital for capping temperatures and avoiding the consequences of a changing climate.

The countries most vulnerable to climate change had lobbied for a 1.5C limit, while big polluters such as China, India and Saudi Arabia preferred 2C. The draft agreement also includes a five-year review system to increase ambition and differentiation between nations as to what their responsibilities are. It also calls for achieving a balance between man-made emissions and the Earth's ability to absorb them by the second half of this century.

Earlier, protesters from environmental and human rights groups gathered near the Eiffel Tower to denounce the accord as insufficient. Up to 10,000 people defied a protest ban as they took to the streets of the French capital to demand more is done to combat greenhouse gas emissions and provide justice for communities impacted by climate change. Activists argued that the global climate accord as insufficient to protect the planet.

On social media, the news was greeted with celebratory messages of support and gratitude.