Why a global agreement on climate change is about to happen and what it needs to do

Press release, 8 September 2014
Paul McNamee Paul McNameeHead of politics020 7630 4527pmcnamee@green-alliance.org.uk
David Cameron should use the huge momentum building around the New York climate summit to push for a global countdown to zero emissions achieved through the kind of rolling carbon targets pioneered by the UK, a coalition of leading environmental groups said today.

Ahead of David Cameron’s expected attendance at major international climate talk in September, five leading environment and development groups have set out their expectations for a successful climate package by the end of next year.

With President Barack Obama and other global leaders confirmed to attend a climate summit led by Ban Ki-Moon in New York, the report, Paris 2015: Getting a global agreement on climate change, argues why this will be the next step towards 196 countries signing a new climate change agreement in 2015 and what that agreement should contain. 

David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK said: “The UK has historically played a critical role in spurring global cooperation on addressing climate change, and was the first to adopt legislation aimed at addressing the issue.  So it’s vital that neither we, nor the EU, lower our ambition now.  The US and China are moving faster than expected, and the prospects for an ambitious global agreement are currently looking better.  The UN summit this month is the first of many steps on the road to Paris in 2015, where history must be made.”

Greenpeace UK Executive Director, John Sauven said: "Never has a generation of world leaders stood a better chance of clinching a global climate deal. This time there's enough momentum to aim for something better than just another sticking-plaster deal with a short shelf life. The UK has blazed a trail by committing to legally-binding, rolling carbon targets. David Cameron now has the opportunity to argue for a similar system that can drive a global countdown towards zero emissions - he should seize it with both hands."

Matthew Spencer, Director of Green Alliance said: “There is a fashionable pessimism about multilateralism which shields people from disappointment but does nothing to protect us from the insecurity that climate change is bringing. Only a strong international agreement can avoid that and give nation states the confidence that they will not be alone as they decarbonise their energy systems.”

The report argues that not only is an agreement possible but, with the right political leadership, it can lead to ambitious outcomes that will have a real impact on tackling climate change. The report argues that the right kind of agreement would include the following package:

•    ambitious action before and after 2020
•    a strong legal framework and clear rules
•    a central role for equity
•    a long term approach
•    public finance for adaptation and the low carbon transit
•    a framework for action on deforestation and land use 
•    clear links to the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Notes to editor

Paris 2015: getting a global agreement on climate change is a joint report from Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Green Alliance, RSPB and WWF.