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Climate Change

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 6 April 2010

Statement

On 31 March, I published Beyond Copenhagen: The UK Government's International Climate Change Plan (Cm 7850), setting out the key elements of UK strategy leading up to COP16 in Mexico and beyond.

The strategy reflects the fact there is much unfinished business following the outcome of the Copenhagen climate talks in December 2009. The conference made significant progress in some areas, but did not live up to our expectations, or those of many countries round the world.

Beyond Copenhagen argues that we should build on what was achieved at Copenhagen but also go further.

The main achievement at Copenhagen was agreement of the accord. The accord includes commitments to limit global temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, to climate finance approaching $30 billion fast-start finance to 2012 with a long-term goal of $100 billion a year by 2020 and for the first time provides a common international framework that includes all the world's major economies. Since the summit more than 70 countries (accounting for around 80 per cent of global emissions) have put forward mitigation targets and actions which, if they deliver at the high end of their ambitions, would be consistent with global emissions peaking before 2020, an important step towards achieving an emissions trajectory consistent with 2 degrees.

The document affirms the importance of delivering against the commitments made in the accord. This includes commitments on emissions reductions, forestry, measurement, reporting and verification and on finance. It highlights the importance both of getting fast-start finance flowing and also of the work of the UN Secretary-General's High Level Advisory Group on Climate Finance, co-chaired by the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia.

The Government continue to believe that this action has to be backed by a comprehensive legally binding agreement. The UK wants to see progress in the UNFCCC negotiations towards a legally binding agreement, with progress under the Copenhagen accord built on in the formal negotiations. To ease that process we signal that we would agree to an appropriately designed second Kyoto commitment period provided others enter into comparable legally binding arrangements.

We also believe we need to strengthen the UNFCCC process and will be working with the Government of Mexico, among others, to do so.

Copies of Beyond Copenhagen have been placed in the Libraries of the House.