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Climate Change

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take by (i) 2012 and (ii) 2020 to adapt to the effects of climate change as they affect his departmental responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. (165036)

Delivering for the Government's objectives, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has used its overseas network of posts to lobby for an ambitious post-2012 framework under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This includes pressing for ambitious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid dangerous climate change as well as adapting to the effects of climate change which are already unavoidable. Posts will continue to play an active role in building momentum for comprehensive negotiations due to be launched at the UN climate change conference in Bali from 3 to 14 December before a global agreement in Copenhagen by 2009. Posts have also undertaken some activity to help build local capacity on adapting to climate change. The Department for International Development and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs take the lead for adaptation policy and negotiations under the UNFCCC and both will continue providing support to developing countries for adaptation activities.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports show that the impacts of climate change are already being felt. There is a need to act now and over the coming decades, both to deal with the obvious impacts (from reduced water availability to weather-related disasters) and adjust development decisions to deal with the long-term risks (from making low cost policy adjustments to planning for large scale investments in the future). If we do not act now, and over the coming decades, we are likely to see unprecedented reversals in progress on poverty reduction. Making development resilient to climate risk will incur additional costs. Current estimates suggest this may be around US$40 billion a year by 2030—more work is needed to improve our understanding of these costs.