A historic new global climate agreement has been struck at the United Nations conference on climate-change in Paris, setting out the path to limiting global temperature rises to below 2 degrees, or even 1.5 degrees if action happens quickly enough.
The deal takes a significant step forward to reducing emissions. For the first time ever 195 countries, including the world’s largest emitters, have now committed to act together to combat climate change and be held equally accountable.
This deal will ensure all countries are held to account for their climate commitments and gives a clear signal to business to invest in the low carbon transition.
The deal sets out a clear long-term goal of net zero emissions by the end of the century, showing that the world is committed to decarbonising. Progress against this goal will be independently assessed in 2018 and every five years thereafter.
Countries will now have to come together regularly to review their climate plans and collectively ensure that the necessary action is being taken to tackle climate change.
As the climate change talks concluded in Paris, new figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show that Scotland has outperformed the UK on carbon emission reductions, which led to the SNP calling on the UK Government to “raise its sights” on the issue.
The figures show that since the Scottish climate change targets were introduced, Scotland has reduced its carbon emissions by 34% while the fall for the UK was 27%. SPICe has also confirmed that Scotland outperformed the UK on total emission reductions in each of the last three years (2011 to 2013).
If the UK matched Scotland’s ambitious target of a 42 per cent cut in emission by 2020, they would need to reduce carbon emissions by a further 66,854 tonnes compared to their current target.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, commented: “Now that the talking in Paris is over, what’s important is that the rhetoric is backed up by meaningful action – not least in the crucial area of energy policy where we need the UK to assist Scotland’s drive to develop renewables and Carbon Capture and Storage, not stymie it as they have done this year.
Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive, RenewableUK, commented: “We appreciate the efforts made by Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and her team in helping to secure a deal which commits the UK on the world stage to continuing its trajectory towards a sustainable and carbon-free future.
“This landmark agreement puts the world firmly on course to limiting dangerous climate change and Britain has proved it is willing to play its part.
“We hope that in the months to come we can see this accord translated into the necessary policies at home to achieve these goals, with Ministers returning from the talks fired up to put their weight fully behind the development of the UK’s plentiful renewable energy resources, including wind, wave and tidal power, without the Government seeking to exclude successful and cost-effective technologies such as onshore wind from our energy mix”.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, commented: “The UK government must provide a stable environment that enables investment in cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy generation, – including renewable technologies and new gas plants.
“As other nations start to play a greater role and increase their ambition, the UK needs a level playing field for carbon costs, so that our energy intensive industries can compete effectively in a global, low carbon market place.”