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Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Volume 604: debated on Thursday 7 January 2016

5. What discussions she has had with her ministerial colleagues on the financial implications of the UK’s commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change. (902822)

The hon. Lady will be aware that the cost of UK action to reduce emissions is already committed to through the setting of our carbon budgets. The Paris agreement will help to ensure that all other countries are also acting. That will help to ensure that climate change is effectively addressed, help level the playing field, reduce the costs of climate action such as on technologies, and provide much greater opportunities for UK business in low carbon transformation.

I thank the Secretary of State for her answer, but does she accept that the estimates suggesting that the UK is on track predate the cuts to DECC’s budget and are out of date, meaning that meeting the 2°C target will require further Government support, particularly for low carbon generation and carbon capture and storage?

I do accept that the Government need to put in place more policies to ensure that we meet our carbon budget, which we have just referred to. I point out to the hon. Lady that the Paris climate change agreement is not as ambitious as what we already have in place through the Climate Change Act, which is legally binding and is delivered in our carbon budgets.

The Secretary of State rightly says that the Paris climate change agreement is not as ambitious as the Climate Change Act. The national action plans agreed to in Paris commit the world to no more than 2.7° C of warming. Will she outline what steps she has taken and what conversations she has had with her EU ministerial counterparts to increase the EU’s ambition for those nationally determined plans before the next stock-take in 2018?

The hon. Lady raises an important point. The current proposals from Paris would actually only achieve an increase of no more than 2.7 °C. Not only are we ambitious to ensure that we reach a maximum of 2 °C, but we would like to see the rise restricted further. There will be conversations in the EU this year to ensure that we meet the EU renewables targets, and we have the “effort share” discussions ahead of us. The real triumph of the Paris agreement is that it involves not just the UK and the EU but the whole world. The largest emitters, such as China and India, are also participating.