The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP speech: COP 16 Plenary Statement, Cancun

Thank you, madam President. This meeting matters. The pattern of extreme weather events is alarming. In Britain, our insurers paid out £4.…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Rt Hon Chris Huhne

Thank you, madam President.

This meeting matters.

The pattern of extreme weather events is alarming. In Britain, our insurers paid out £4.5 billion in flood damage in the last ten years compared with £1.5 billion in the previous ten years. This is a warning of worse to come.

I want high ambition. I want a legally binding global deal to keep global temperature increase at 2 degrees or less.

We must be guided by the science, and the science has become more worrying, not less. As the UNEP report on the emissions gap makes clear, together we are not yet even promising enough, let alone doing it.

But we can do it.

There is a willingness to make progress here.

But with just two days to go, we’re reaching a crunch point.

Let me be clear: a car crash of a summit is in no one’s interest.

The answer has to be compromise. We cannot do everything here. But we can make progress on mitigation, deforestation, adaptation, finance, reporting and more. And restore momentum to the global process. Concrete steps to the treaty we want.

We believe that the future of the Kyoto Protocol is vital to the success of this process.

But Kyoto alone is not enough to protect us from a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees.

Along with the EU, we want a second commitment period as part of a wider outcome engaging all major economies, and as long as concerns around environmental integrity are met.

In the UK, we are working hard to meet ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy targets. A new energy-saving programme. Electricity market reform for green energy. The world’s largest clean coal plant. A Green Investment Bank. And more ambition with our EU partners for bigger emission cuts.

We have committed £2.9 billion of climate finance over the next four years to help developing countries tackle climate change. We have fulfilled our Fast Start pledge and are fully committed to the long term goal of $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020.

Agreement here on the key issues would send a message from Cancun. A global deal on climate change is not an impossible dream. Let’s do it.

Published 8 December 2010