Climate Conference in Paris December 2015

A brief note about the Climate Conference in Paris and a nice Christmas present to our planet.

The historic agreement, which was finally reached on Saturday evening, saw all 195 nations agree that each and every one of them will act together to cut carbon pollution and tackle global warming.

I thought you might be interested to see the key elements of the agreement which are as follows:

  • A strong goal limiting the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius with the ambition of achieving a limit of 1.5 degrees.
  • Countries should peak their carbon emissions as soon as possible and aim to reduce net emissions to zero in the second half of the century
  • There will be a 5 yearly global “stocktake” beginning in 2023, where countries will examine their progress and revise their pledges (upwards only) in order to achieve the long term goal.
  • The developed nations of the world will establish a fund starting at $100 billion a year from 2020 to help poorer countries develop their economies in the cleanest possible way; and to help those countries in most immediate danger from current climate change such as drought and coastal flooding to adapt and to put in place resilience measures to protect their people.
  • Countries will calculate their emissions in a transparent and internationally agreed way so that it is clear precisely how well each country is doing in realising its pledges.

Before the Paris conference 186 countries had made specific pledges - called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), about the amount of emission reduction they would undertake. This was a hugely positive and significant move, but in themselves all of these pledges do not achieve the 2 degree goal. The significance of the agreement is that all countries are now agreed on the process by which in the coming years these pledges can be strengthened.

The agreement in Paris represents a rare moment in politics where the United Nations of our world have resolved to take practical steps to overcome a genuine global threat. The work does not end here.

I will be working in parliament to hold the government to account for the promises it has made. We need strong action now to create the low-carbon, clean industrial revolution that will power our world in the rest of this century.