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Tackling climate change

Published: 9 Sep 2016 09:47

Environment Secretary calls for UK to ratify Paris Agreement.

The landmark measures agreed at the climate change discussions last year should be implemented by the UK Government without delay, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said today.

With the United States and China having confirmed their ratification of the Paris Agreement, Ms Cunningham has written to Greg Clark – the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Policy – calling for the UK to show continued leadership through swift ratification.

Ms Cunningham said:

"It's essential that the momentum and consensus for global efforts to tackle climate change that was so hard won in Paris is not lost by a slow pace of implementation. That is why I welcome the ratification by the United States and China.

"There is growing concern that any unnecessary delay in the UK ratification will diminish its position as a world leader in tackling global climate change. It also risks sending the wrong signal to the low carbon sector and the investment community at a time when confidence is already low on the back of policy changes at UK level.

"The UK can and should continue to show leadership and I urge the UK Government to complete the domestic ratification process ahead of the next meeting in November. Meanwhile the Scottish Government will continue to press ahead with our ambitious efforts to tackle climate change in Scotland."

Notes to editors

The Paris Agreement is the first ever global and legally binding climate agreement. It aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, while increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development.

As of 3 September, the Paris Agreement has 180 signatories, of which 26 states have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting for 39.06% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.

The next UN meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Marrakech, Morocco, in November will focus on implementation of the Paris Agreement, pressing for parties yet to ratify to do so as soon as possible, to maintain the spirit of the Paris Agreement and continue to address climate finance.