Climate change is almost universally recognised as a serious threat to global prosperity, security and well-being. We are already experiencing the impacts of climate change within the UK. Extreme weather events at home and abroad already cause significant costs and disruption to UK businesses, and we are predicted to experience increasingly frequent and severe flooding and are vulnerable to predicted rise in heat waves, storms and gales, as well as rising sea levels which will cause increased encroachment on our coastal areas.
The world is not asking if we need to tackle climate change, but how. Over 90 countries, covering 80% of global emissions, have already pledged to cut their emissions by 2020 under the Copenhagen Accord. But this is not nearly enough to prevent global temperatures exceeding the globally agreed target of 2°C and, as a consequence, the world is increasingly experiencing the worst impacts of climate change. Action is needed on a coordinated global scale from every country in the world.
All countries of the UNFCCC agreed in 2011 to negotiate a global legally binding agreement by 2015, to come into force by 2020. These negotiations are progressing, and will conclude at the 21st UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Paris in December 2015. The UK is at the forefront of helping to shape and deliver this agreement. Paris will not be the end of the road in terms of tackling climate change, but an ambitious agreement would be a huge step forward which we can then build on in the future.
That is why today, I am publishing the UK Government’s view on why we need a global deal on climate change, why one is good for the UK and what such a deal needs to look like. ‘Paris 2015: Securing our prosperity through a Global Climate Change Agreement’ sets out:
- what the science says and what the direct and indirect climate impacts are for the UK and the world, some of which we are already seeing today;
- the benefits of low carbon action for our prosperity, security and well-being, and how many leading British businesses, including SMEs, are already realising the commercial gains from climate action;
- the scale of the challenge, the progress made so far and why we are better placed than we have been for a long time to reach a global agreement and;
- our vision for what a successful global agreement needs to include and the UK’s role in helping to deliver that.
The Government is not alone in advocating action. Featuring support from businesses, NGOs and organisations, the publication demonstrates that we are united in our call for global action.
Copies of the publication will be placed in the Libraries of the House.