Paris Agreement will be ratified by the UK by ‘end of the year’
The Paris Agreement, a global deal on climate change signed by 195 countries last December, will be ratified by the UK by the end of year Prime Minister Theresa May has said.
May made the pledge during her first speech to the United Nations in which she stressed that the UK remained a global player following the Brexit vote.
The agreement includes a target to keep temperature rises below 2°C and strives to curb increases to 1.5°C. A five-year review system will also be implemented to increase ambition on cutting emissions to meet the temperature goals.
The Prime Minister told the gathering of world leaders in New York that the UK remained a "confident, strong and dependable partner internationally".
"We will continue to play our part in the international effort against climate change,” she said.
"And in a demonstration of our commitment to the agreement reached in Paris, the UK will start its domestic procedures to enable ratification of the Paris agreement, and complete these before the end of the year."
The command paper leading to the ratification will be laid in Parliament after it returns from the conference recess next month.
The agreement enters into force when at least 55 countries accounting for 55 per cent of the world's emissions have ratified it.
So far, only 29 countries, totalling 40 per cent of emissions, have done so, with more expected to make an announcement at an event at the UN on Wednesday which includes Brazil, accountable for just under 2.5 per cent of global emissions.
The European Union is looking at a fast-track ratification, which would allow the bloc's 12 per cent of global emissions to count towards the total, while individual member states who have ratified the deal would count towards the number of countries.
The chief executive of WWF-UK, David Nussbaum, said: "The government has sent a welcome message that British leadership on climate change is still a priority.
"This is good news for the planet, for the UK's international standing, and for the green industries that have so much to offer by creating jobs and revenue from low-carbon energy, transport and infrastructure.
"We now need a strong plan that sets out how ministers will translate ambition into action."
Rhian Kelly, infrastructure director with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: “Having committed to reducing emissions in the UK in line with the 5th Carbon Budget, business looks forward to working with the government to develop a clear and credible plan to meet this ambition.
“There is no magic solution to climate change, but with business and the government working together – developing innovative new products and services, and leading the way in cutting emissions – we can all move towards a sustainable low-carbon path.”
Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said: “The government is determined to tackle climate change to help create a safer and more prosperous future for us all. That is why we are now starting the process of ratifying the landmark climate deal signed in Paris.
“The UK played a major role when the world came together last year and we will continue to play our part in the transition to a global low-carbon economy as we continue to provide secure, affordable and clean energy at home”.