26 October 2016

  |  CBI Brussels


Paris Agreement enters into force – UK must ratify swiftly to retain status as a leader on climate change

With the Paris Agreement now having entered into force, the UK must ratify swiftly to retain status as a leader on climate change.

Paris Agreement enters into force – UK must ratify swiftly to retain status as a leader on climate change

The Paris Agreement has entered into force 30 days after at least 55 parties, representing at least 55% of global emissions have ratified. The EU’s bold decision to ratify as a bloc in early October triggered the entry into force of the climate deal. Therefore, the Paris Agreement came into force less than a year after the COP21 in December 2015 and days before the COP22 in Marrakech on 7-18 November.

The Paris Agreement is the most ambitious climate deal to date, and obligates nations to ensure that global temperature rises to less than 2°C above the long-term average, whilst aspiring towards a 1.5°C rise. The deal heralds great opportunities for business, putting us on a sustainable low-carbon path and providing the framework for business to invest with confidence. At the same time, Paris should also help to drive the competitiveness of our industry, supporting global emissions reductions in an efficient manner. However, it will take time for all nations to be on the same level-playing field and it is therefore vital that the government maintains the support needed to help keep our energy intensive industries competitive. For all the benefits, the deal still falls short in some respects – for example, there is no hard target set for peaking or eliminating emissions. Business could really use this added clarity, and so this must be a priority for future rounds of discussions.

While the Paris Agreement will put plenty of mechanisms into place, such as a review and ratchet mechanism where nations present new nationally determined contribution every five years, it will ultimately be up to national governments to turn global ambition into national reality. Businesses are hungry for domestic policies that demonstrate commitment to this goal, and none more so than in the UK. The CBI thus warmly welcomed the news that the Government has committed to ratifying the Paris Agreement by the end of the year. With key players such as the EU, the US, China and India having now ratified the deal, it is crucial that the Government makes good on its promise and joins the club. 

The UK was the first nation in the world to put in place a long-term emissions target through the Climate Change Act 2008, and at the end of June the Government confirmed the ambitious Fifth Carbon Budget to reduce emissions by 57% by 2030. It is now important for the government to come forward with a clear and credible plan of action which works for all businesses and ensures growth and prosperity across the UK.

For more information, please contact Elsa