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Climate Change

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 28 January 2010

The Petition of persons concerned about climate change,

Declares that, from a historical point of view, the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is one of the most significant gatherings ever; that the world has precious little time to reach an agreement which will secure the future habitability of the planet; that climate change hits poor people first and worst as they face increasingly unpredictable weather, hunger and disease; further declares that this is a massive injustice because the poorest people are the least responsible for causing climate change and have the least resources to cope; further declares that at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference the world community will try to agree a solution to the gravest threat it has ever faced, that of global warming; further declares that the petitioners are doing what they can to reduce their personal contribution to global warming, but know that the world needs a fair and strong international climate change agreement.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to work with other countries in the United Nations to ensure: that the needs of the world’s poorest people are at the heart of a new global climate change deal; that rich countries cut their emissions first; that rich countries provide the money and technology needed for developing countries to adapt to changing climates; and that less developed countries also invest in their most vulnerable communities to help them adapt to climate change.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Dr. Roberta Blackman-Woods, Official Report, 15 December 2009; Vol. 502, c. 934 .]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:

The UK Government recognise that any international climate agreement must support poor and vulnerable countries to respond to the challenges of climate change.

At the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009, representatives of 49 countries reached agreement on the Copenhagen Accord. Under the Accord, countries agreed to work to limit the increase in global temperatures to below 2°C.

Under the Accord, developing as well as developed countries have agreed for the first time to make specific commitments to tackling emissions, to be lodged in an appendix to the agreement by 31 January 2010. The Accord includes significant commitments on climate finance to help developing countries tackle and adapt to climate change. Developed countries have agreed to provide fast start finance approaching $30 billion for the period 2010 to 2012. This will be allocated in a balanced fashion between adaptation and mitigation, with adaptation funding prioritised for the most vulnerable developing countries such as the least developed countries, small island developing states and Africa. It will include up to £1.5 billion from the UK. In the longer-term the Accord supports the goal of $100 billion a year of public and private finance for developing countries by 2020.

The Accord highlights the challenge faced by all countries in adapting to climate change, and agrees that developed countries will provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries. A Technology Mechanism will be established to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on mitigation and adaptation. The Accord also calls for the establishment of a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, which will support projects, programme, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation (including REDD-plus), adaptation, capacity building, technology development and transfer.

These are important steps forward but we know the world needs to go further. We must ensure that countries deliver on their commitments to provide immediate fast start financing for developing countries. The UK Government are committed to providing early financing to support the poorest and most vulnerable countries tackle climate change. We are working with other developed and developing countries to ensure they put forward the most ambitious targets and mitigation actions possible for inclusion in the Accord at the end of January. Building on this, the UK will be working in partnership with a wide range of developed and developing countries to work towards a legally binding international agreement.