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Climate Change

Volume 712: debated on Monday 29 June 2009


My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Ed Miliband) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today publishing The Road to Copenhagen (Cm 7659), setting out the Government's priorities for the forthcoming international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen this December.

The Copenhagen summit is a critical moment in the fight against dangerous climate change. Climate change is a global problem, with direct consequences for the future prosperity and security of the United Kingdom. It can only be addressed through a comprehensive global agreement between all countries represented at the Copenhagen conference.

To show ambition matching the science, an agreement must aim to limit global temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, the point beyond which the risks of dangerous climate change become greater. It must be effective, driving low carbon investment and with monitoring of outcomes to ensure commitments made are kept to. And it must be fair, particularly in helping the poorest countries adapt to the consequences of climate change.

To achieve these goals, the Government's priorities for the Copenhagen agreement are:

ambitious action to reduce emissions. Global emissions must peak and start to fall before 2020 and be at least 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, if temperature increases are to be limited to no more than 2 degrees. The Government are therefore calling for firm, binding targets from developed countries; and significant action by developing countries with appropriate support from developed countries, to reduce their emissions below “business as usual” levels;

a reformed, expanded carbon market to support emissions reductions, and action to extend flows of carbon market finance over time, including: the establishment of new sectoral carbon trading systems in advanced developing countries by 2020 at the latest; sectoral crediting in other developing countries where appropriate; and a reformed clean development mechanism;

a new international framework for low-carbon technologies to be more rapidly developed and deployed; including new low carbon development strategies in which individual countries assess their own technology needs; capacity building support; and incentives to encourage international collaboration;

commitments to deep reductions in emissions from deforestation, halving tropical deforestation by 2020 and achieving zero net loss of forest by 2030; with new short-term financing mechanisms; and more comprehensive arrangements to account for emissions reductions from deforestation and land use;

enhanced support for developing countries to adapt to climate change, with adaptation integrated into national development planning processes; support for developing countries in prioritising their own adaptation needs; and greater international support for better sources of information on climate risks and adaptation expertise;

commitment to provide international finance that is adequate, additional, predictable and timely, through a combination of sources including the carbon market, potential new automatic mechanisms, and a small, limited proportion of official development assistance (ODA). All countries except the least developed should contribute, using a transparent and dynamic formula based on emissions and ability to pay, and based on the understanding that developing countries will receive significantly more than they contribute. The UK remains committed to our target of providing 0.7 per cent of our gross national income as ODA by 2013 and will provide finance for climate change that is new and additional to this. All ODA will be climate proofed and up to 10 per cent of ODA will be used for activities which achieve both poverty reduction and climate objectives; and

reformed international institutional arrangements which ensure an equal voice for developing countries and that decisions on spending priorities are made at the country level; simple, efficient and effective mechanisms for allocating finance to priority areas and countries that need them most, consistent with international standards of financial management; and robust monitoring, reporting and verification arrangements.

With our EU partners, the Government will be working intensively over the next six months to press for a global agreement which reflects these priorities, including through the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); full participation in the Major Economies Forum convened by the United States Government; the G8; and the G20.

Copies of The Road to Copenhagen will be placed in the Libraries of the House.