Paris summit ends with major climate blueprint

JUDY WOODRUFF: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon invited world leaders today to come to New York this April to put their signatures on a historic climate accord.

But there are numerous questions about its practical realities. Six years after a summit in Copenhagen failed to find common ground, the Paris meeting ended with a major blueprint for governments and a message to business.

Delegates from 195 countries were on their feet after they struck a landmark climate deal in Paris.

LAURENT FABIUS, French Foreign Minister (through interperter): It's a small hammer, but I think it will do great things.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JUDY WOODRUFF: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, president of the conference, gaveled the deal to extensive applause.

For the U.N.'s climate chief, it was a moment of success after six years of failure.

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: I have been saying for a long time, we must, we can. And I used to say, we will. Today, we can say, we did.

JUDY WOODRUFF: As delegates left the conference, they cheered the news and looked for the man of the hour, Laurent Fabius, for autographs and pictures.

The agreement lays out a number of goals and timelines, including keeping the global temperature rise well below 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit. After 2050, manmade emissions should be reduced to a level that forests and oceans can absorb. Wealthy countries are encouraged, but not required to help poorer ones cut emissions, to the tune of pledging at least $100 billion a year. And nations have to report on their emissions and efforts to reduce them.

Hours after the Paris pact, President Obama chimed in his praise from Washington.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis. It creates the mechanism, the architecture for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Even so, critics of the deal still abound. In Paris, some protesters said this agreement doesn't go far enough, citing no penalties for countries that don't meet their targets.

And back in the U.S., Republicans in Congress warned the deal will be shredded in 13 months if a Republican is elected president. Utilities and some Republican politicians are also challenging emissions regulations in court.