UK poised to ratify Paris climate deal

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The UK is poised to ratify the world’s first comprehensive agreement on tackling climate change.

Parliament raised no objections to the Paris deal and the process is simply awaiting a government signature and deposition at the UN.

The government is expected to announce tomorrow that the process of ratification has been completed.

Before that happens, the document will be need to be signed by the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson has previously made sceptical remarks about manmade climate change.

It comes in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax and promised to re-instate the coal industry in the US and withdraw from the Paris deal which the US has already ratified.

A government spokesman told BBC News earlier this week that the change in power in the US would not divert the UK from its climate change targets.

No objections

The Paris Agreement commits countries to taking action to hold temperature rises to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels – and to try to stabilise emissions at a level which would see a temperature rise of no more than 1.5C

It was put before Parliament for the required 21-day period for scrutiny. That has now expired with no objections raised by the House of Commons or Lords.

The long-standing climate change sceptic MP Peter Lilley told BBC News that he did not object to the Paris Agreement in Parliament because he didn’t notice it.

He said: “If I had noticed it, I might have made an attempt to draw together a group of people to object to it. I suspect we would have had more names than last time (the Climate Change Act was passed with five objections) – but it probably would have been a rather ineffective gesture.”

More than 100 countries have already officially signed up to the deal, which came into force earlier this month.

Barry Gardiner, shadow minister for international climate change, said: “I welcome the good news that the UK is now ready to ratify the historic Paris Agreement.

“This strong signal of the UK’s commitment to international co-operation on climate change is even more important following the US election.

“The UK Government must now show their commitment through climate action on the ground.

“We face a 47% shortfall to meet our 2030 climate target.”

No minister was available for comment today, but the government insists that targets will be met.

Some 20,000 participants are currently attending UN climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco, where negotiators will be discussing the agreement’s detail.

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