World leaders at the G-7 summit pledged on Monday to keep global warming below a rise in average global temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius, a benchmark that scientists say is critical to stave off the most devastating impacts of climate change.

The 2 degree pledge was delivered as part of a communiqué released as major economic powers—including the United States, Britain, and Canada—convened in southern Germany for a meeting of the G-7 economic summit. In addition to signalling support for efforts to limit the rise in worldwide temperatures, the communiqué called for G-7 nations to phase out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century.

The declaration is designed to build momentum ahead of make-or-break United Nations Paris climate talks set to be held later this year. President Obama hopes that nations will agree to the strongest possible deal in Paris to halt the steady rise in global temperatures and has been working hard to shore up international support.

“Urgent and concrete action is needed to address climate change,” the communiqué read, affirming support for commitments to fight global warming at the climate summit in Paris. It continued on to say, “Deep cuts in global greenhouse-gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century.”

Environmentalists applauded the effort but cautioned that the pledge falls short of what is needed to prevent catastrophic global warming.

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