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Paris Climate Change Conference

Volume 602: debated on Thursday 19 November 2015

7. Whether she will support proposals for a global goal on adaptation at the Paris climate conference in December 2015. (902225)

The Government support the view that the Paris agreement should set out a long-term direction on adaptation for all countries. In 2014, only 16% of climate finance mobilised to developing countries supported adaptation, and it is clear that globally we must do more. That is why the Prime Minister has reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to aim to spend 50% of our climate finance on adaptation.

Many constituents have contacted me following a campaign by ActionAid about the effects of climate change in developing countries such as Bangladesh, where flooding particularly affects women and children. In Paris, will the Secretary of State support a specific, binding goal that ensures that the wealthiest countries in the world support developing countries in adapting to climate change?

I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that the Government are committed to getting a deal in Paris. We are aware that that deal will require considerable financing, which is why my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced that we will increase our commitment to climate finance up to $9 billion over this five-year spending period—a significant increase. We remain committed to making adaptation an important part of that, but we are not yet in a position to commit the rest of the world in terms of the final deal that will be reached.

The Paris conference of the parties aims to replicate the successful method of the UK Climate Change Act 2008—a long-term goal that is specified under a legally binding agreement that achieves stability through a series of five-year reviews. The Secretary of State has abandoned long-term targets and destroyed the stability of the investment framework, and last night her Department’s emissions calculator showed that after her reset speech the shortfall against the fourth carbon budget has increased by 54 million tonnes of CO2, which is 10% away from the legally binding fourth carbon budget. Does she now feel more shame showing her face in the city of Paris, or in the city of London?

I find the hon. Gentleman’s question disappointing. The UK is rightly proud of our Climate Change Act, and of the targets and aims that we are setting for ourselves. We will provide leadership in Paris. The number of texts and notes that I received yesterday after creating that strong sign on coal was remarkable. I urge the hon. Gentleman to stop knocking the United Kingdom’s negotiating position, and to start supporting us in leading and getting a global deal.