In the wake of the Paris Climate Change Summit where 194 nations secured a deal that will attempt to cut greenhouse gases, Robin Walker, MP for Worcester has spoken of his support for the proactive stance taken by the UK Government, in achieving such a ground breaking deal.

The landmark deal struck in Paris will attempt to address the increase in global warming and signatories pledged to work towards facilitating substantial cuts in greenhouse gases. Experts have warned that global temperatures have risen well below 2C compared to pre-industrial levels – a level of warming deemed to be the point when dangerous climate change is probable. More than 150 world leaders, including our Prime Minister, Presidents Obama, Putin and Xi Jinping were in Paris for the summit and told delegates that climate change was the most important issue facing us in the 21st Century.

Robin, who has met constituents at Parliament on climate change lobbies and wrote to Energy Secretary Amber Rudd after this summer’s Christian Aid march on Parliament – has spoken of his commitment to cutting greenhouse gases and how this historical deal with support and take further the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto pledge to meet the UK’s climate change commitments.

Below is a summary of the key points of the deal:

  1. Countries commit to reduce their carbon emissions.Even before the summit started, almost every nation in the world put forward a pledge to constrain its greenhouse gas emissions with a target date of 2025 or 2030.  Put together these could limit the global temperature rise to 2.7 degrees Celsius, avoiding the very worst impacts of climate change.
  2. Agreement to keep global warming ‘significantly below’ 2 degrees Celsius. And somewhat unexpectedly the deal also says countries should aim for the even more ambitious target of 1.5 C.  This is particularly important to people living on low-lying islands or coasts as it should limit the sea-level rise that is a result of climate change.
  3. ‘Rachet and review’ to monitor progress and increase ambition. Countries will review and strengthen their emission-cutting pledges every five years, starting in 2018.  This should close the gap between the 2.7 degrees Celsius likely warming with existing commitments and the agreement to limit warming to below 2 degrees.
  4. Net-zero emissions after 2050.Global greenhouse gas emissions should peak “as soon as possible” and there should be a “balance” between emissions and ‘sinks’ (that absorb carbon emissions such as forests) in the second half of the century. This effectively means reaching net-zero emissions after 2050.
  5. Help from rich countries for poorer nations. Rich countries have agreed to continue providing money for poorer countries, known as ‘climate finance’, to adapt to climate change and constrain their emissions as they develop by building renewable energy plants for example. So far they have promised £100 billion by 2020, and a new goal should be agreed by 2025.  Rich countries will also help poorer countries with irreversible and permanent damage from climate change – an issue known as ‘loss and damage’.
  6. Monitoring system. A system for monitoring and verifying that countries will do what they have pledged to do has also been agreed.

Robin said:

“The contrast with the last global attempt to resolve climate change, at Copenhagen in 2009, which collapsed, could not have been greater. In a city that so recently faced the appalling terrorist attacks, positive collective will and cooperation has prevailed. As a result of the agreement in Paris, there is now a pledge from every major nation to tackle climate change by constraining its greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Nearly a quarter of a century ago, the late Baroness Thatcher who, as a professional chemist, understood the risks posed by climate change called for an international treaty to combat it. My colleague and friend Amber Rudd has followed in her footsteps to secure this deal and I know that anyone with an interest in the future of our planet will welcome the fact it has been secured. As Conservatives we should be proud to support action to conserve our environment and our future. The challenge now will be to deliver on these ambitious targets in a way that creates green jobs and supports economic growth.”

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, spoke in the Chamber on Monday:

“It gives me great pleasure to report to the House on the United Nations conference of parties in Paris last week. COP21 has delivered an historic new global climate change agreement that takes a significant step forward towards reducing, on a global scale, the emissions that cause climate change. For the first time, nearly 200 countries have made a commitment to act together and to be held accountable. In doing so, this agreement will help to protect not just our environment but our national and economic security, now and for generations to come. As the Prime Minister said in his speech at the start of conference:

“Instead of making excuses tomorrow to our children and grandchildren, we should be taking action against climate change today. I am proud to say that there are no more excuses. With the Paris agreement, we have shown that the world has committed to action. This deal is unequivocally in Britain’s national interest. It moves us towards a level playing field at a global level within which the UK’s society and businesses can thrive, as we transition to a low-carbon economy. This is a deal we are wholeheartedly committed to, recognising that action by one state alone cannot and will not solve climate change. It is what we do together that counts. This is a moment that all parties in the House can take significant credit for.”

Notes to Editors:

To read the Energy Secretary’s speech in full:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151214/debtext/151214-0001.htm#15121426000582

To read more on the Department for Energy’s work on climate change:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-agrees-historic-global-climate-deal

To read more on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php