COP21 climate change deal a 'huge step, says David Cameron

David Cameron talking to Francois Hollande Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande

The international deal on limiting climate change represents "a huge step forward in securing the future of the planet", David Cameron has said.

The deal, which attempts to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C, was approved by all 195 countries at a summit in Paris.

The PM said it showed what "unity, ambition and perseverance can do".

Campaigners said it fell short of such "soaring rhetoric" and business leaders urged greater clean technology backing.

The agreement is the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions and followed nearly two weeks' of negotiations.

Welcoming the deal, Mr Cameron said Britain was "already leading the way in work to cut emissions and help less developed countries cut theirs".

"This global deal now means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change," he added.

"It's a moment to remember and a huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet."

'Big step forward'

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said the agreement was "vital for our long-term economic and global security".

"This deal will ensure all countries are held to account for their climate commitments and gives a clear signal to business to invest in the low carbon transition," she said.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the "big step forward", but said it was important the "rhetoric is backed up by meaningful action".

Labour's shadow energy minister Barry Gardiner said the agreement would usher in a "new industrial revolution", but he said it would be "a clean one" and "a green one".

"What we're seeing is the world waking up to the fact that we have to do things differently," he said.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Hollande celebrate the Paris deal

However, Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett said there was still no "adequate global plan" to reduced temperatures.

Despite labelling the deal as "a historic moment", he said: "This summit clearly shows that fossil fuels have had their day and that George Osborne's outdated, backward energy policies must be reversed if he wants to be on the right side of history."

He said Mr Cameron must also "end Britain's scandalous support for fossil fuels, including fracking".

"This nation is the only G7 country to be actively expanding fossil fuel subsidies," he added.

Meanwhile, Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI's director-general, called for the government to do more to back clean technology in the UK.

"While the UK is making its voice heard at global talks, more needs to be done at home," she said.

"The government must provide a stable environment that enables investment in cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy generation, including renewable technologies and new gas plants," she added.

However, former Conservative environment minister Richard Benyon said there would now be a "race for green technologies".

"Countries are going to be competing with themselves for a growing economic market place for green technologies. And you're going to see the innovation that exists in human nature really come alive because of this," he said.

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