Finally, for the first time ever, almost 200 countries have agreed on a landmark deal on climate change action. It's a rare and genuinely historic step forwards in tackling climate change together, around the world.
For the love of the people, places and lives that could be affected by climate change, the Paris Agreement makes a difference. Now it must be brought home and put into action.
Professor Hugh Montgomery, Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change: “The impact of climate change on everything from food production to water scarcity means that it poses the single biggest threat to global health. This agreement is incredibly important for beginning to ease that health burden, ultimately saving lives.”
Is it perfect? Of course not. But it's a huge step forwards for us all -- and it's a strong message to businesses and governments that a sustainable world is the only way to go now.
There is ambition to keep global warming below 1.5°C, this includes a long term goal to bring global emissions down to zero. It’s a strong message that all countries must move towards carbon-free economies. The Agreement isn’t strong enough on the policies that will put this ambition into action, and the goal for getting to zero emissions is too far into the future, but importantly, there will be reviews every five years to keep raising the bar. This means there’s a mechanism to address the gap between the current cuts in emissions pledged by countries and effective protection for people and our planet.
The deal lays the foundations getting to the future that will benefit us all: it sends a clear signal to investors and governments to support a low-carbon future in which people and nature thrive.
Want to find out more about what was agreed in Paris? Check out this useful write-up.
This historic deal was only possible because so many people, groups and organisations came together to call for change – including members of The Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change.
From the Climate March last September to the huge marches just before the negotiations began, to our Show the Love campaign securing an important cross-party commitment, to the largest ever climate change lobby of MPs in June, our members and supporters have added their voices again and again calling for change.
Marylyn Haines Evans from the Women’s Institute: “Ordinary people in Britain, like WI members, have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the threat climate change poses to people’s wellbeing and our natural habitats. This deal gives us hope and should help to bring more balance back to our climate.”
At the talks in Paris, the UK Government championed our world-leading Climate Change Act which was passed with strong cross-party support.
Now we need our government to take the action needed to deliver on its legally-binding targets. The UK has traditionally been ahead of the curve with its policies to tackle climate change, but recent changes to our climate policies now look out of step in the light of what was agreed in Paris.
We want to see the Government protecting our natural environment from the risks of climate change, investing in renewable energy, ending support for oil and gas, and cutting both bills and emissions with an ambitious energy efficiency programme.
It’s completely possible for us to have 100% clean energy within a generation, which would benefit people, the planet and our pockets. We have the global agreement to help make that happen, now we just need our government to step up and make the global ambition a reality at home.