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Paris climate deal

UK business lobby group CBI has welcomed the Paris Agreement climate deal that was made at the United Nations talks in Paris on Saturday night.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the Director-General, has stated that the agreement “heralds an exciting opportunity for business” (1).

The agreement was the first universal, legally binding deal to tackle the ever-increasing issue of global warming. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said it marked “a huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet”.

The deal consists of all signatory countries (nearly 200 nations) pledging to keep rising global temperatures “well below” 2°C. It also aims for countries to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5°C; a very ambitious goal that may result in the UK taking even more radical action than under its existing Climate Change Act (2).

The deal also requires developed nations to provide funding to help poorer countries cut their carbon emissions. An accompanying agreement also obliges developed nations to pursue the goal of $100 billion (£65.9 billion) of finance each year after 2020. A higher sum by 2025 may well then be required, meaning the UK will have to provide £5.8 billion over the next five years (2).

The UK’s Climate Change Act already legally commits to a drastic reduction in greenhouse gases to 80% of the levels in 1990 by 2050. The targets set by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) are intended to coincide with the 2°C goal, and are estimated to require £10 billion each year in subsides by 2030 (2).

However, coal and oil industry executives have dismissed suggestions that the new pledge in Paris would have any immediate impact on their business. The agreements’ aims include decreasing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels as soon as possible to limit global warming.

The head of the World Coal Association, Benjamin Sporton, said he did not see the new agreement spurring a “massive change for the moment” as so many developing countries still plan to keep burning it, regardless of the fact that it is one of the dirtiest fuels available (3).

BBC News. “CBI backs Paris climate deal and calls for UK action” bbc.co.uk

The Telegraph. “Paris climate change deal- ministers adopt historic agreement to keep global warming ‘well below’ 2C” telegraph.co.uk

The Financial Times. “COP21: Climate obstacles emerge within hours” ft.com