UK signs up for Paris climate agreement

By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst

image copyrightGetty Images

The UK government has signed a document ratifying the world's first comprehensive agreement on tackling climate change.

Parliament raised no objections to the Paris deal; after the government signed the deal on Thursday, it is now just awaiting deposition at the UN.

The government is set to announce tomorrow that ratification is complete.

It comes in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax.

The US President-elect promised to re-instate the coal industry in the US and withdraw from the Paris deal which the US has already ratified.

A government spokesman told BBC News earlier this week that the change in power in the US would not divert the UK from its climate change targets.

No objections

image copyrightBEIS
image captionForeign Secretary Boris Johnson signed the document

The Paris Agreement commits countries to taking action to hold temperature rises to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels - and to try to stabilise emissions at a level which would see a temperature rise of no more than 1.5C

It was put before Parliament for the required 21-day period for scrutiny. That expired with no objections raised by the House of Commons or Lords.

The long-standing climate change sceptic MP Peter Lilley told BBC News that he did not object to the Paris Agreement in Parliament because he didn't notice it.

He said: "If I had noticed it, I might have made an attempt to draw together a group of people to object to it. I suspect we would have had more names than last time (the Climate Change Act was passed with five objections) - but it probably would have been a rather ineffective gesture."

More than 100 countries have already officially signed up to the deal, which came into force earlier this month.

Barry Gardiner, shadow minister for international climate change, said: "This strong signal of the UK's commitment to international co-operation on climate change is even more important following the US election.

"The UK Government must now show their commitment through climate action on the ground.

"We face a 47% shortfall to meet our 2030 climate target."

The climate minister Nick Hurd said: "The UK is ratifying the Paris Agreement so that we can help to accelerate global action on climate change and deliver on our commitments to create a safer, more prosperous future for us all.

"We are going to use this positive momentum to grow the UK low-carbon sector, which is already worth over £46bn, as we continue to provide secure, affordable and clean energy to our families and businesses."

Some 20,000 participants are currently attending UN climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco, where negotiators will be discussing the agreement's detail.

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