Rushanara Ali MP condemns the lack of ambition over UK action to match commitments in the December 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement

Rushanara Ali MP questioned the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP on the outcomes of the Climate conference in Paris and what impact the agreement will have on the UK government in achieving the goals that have been set out.

The signing of the Paris agreement by 195 governments on climate change has been hailed as historic, durable and ambitious. Developed and developing countries alike will now be required to limit their emissions to relatively safe levels, of 2C with an aspiration of 1.5C, with regular reviews to ensure these commitments can be increased in line with scientific advice.

Yet recent domestic policy announcements continue to damage the UK’s ability to meet its Paris accord obligations and the push by the government in recent months to roll back green measures has been damaging. Particularly worrying, are the recent reports that say the government plans to cut the feed-in tariff, the solar subsidy, by 87%.

Within this industry alone, four UK-based solar companies have already gone into administration and the proposed reduction in subsidies could lead to job losses of up to 34,000 and the loss of billions of pounds of potential investment in the UK.

Rushanara Ali also pressed the Secretary of State on the international commitment from developed countries in 2009 to make available $100 billion of “new and additional” money a year by 2020 for vulnerable countries to help them adapt to climate change.

The Government has pledged £5.8 billion of funding from April 2016 to March 2021, an increase of 50% in current spending, all of which will be drawn from the current overseas foreign aid budget.

Rushanara Ali gave a statement:

“The Paris agreement is a huge achievement for the international community in getting an international agreement. Now the commitments made need to be matched by firm action. We have a situation where our government has signed up to ambitious international commitments to decarbonise and tackle climate change, yet is on track to miss vital renewable energy targets at home.

“Today Amber Rudd refused to acknowledge the serious inconsistencies between UK government rhetoric and policy. Amber Rudd won’t admit that the Chancellor is seriously damaging investor confidence by undermining the efforts of Department for Energy and Climate Change to meet these targets through cancelling carbon capture storage and slashing subsidies for renewable energy sources.

"Moreover I am extremely concerned by the government’s disingenuous approach to providing funds to the climate finance fund. Amber Rudd confirmed today that this money will come from the overseas aid budget which will mean that by 2021, the UK government has pledged to spend £5.8billion of the DFID budget on climate finance projects. This is neither ‘new’ nor ‘additional’ money as stipulated in the Paris Agreement”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1) For further information or comment please contact Rushanara Ali MP’s Office on 020 7219 7200 or email rushanara.ali.mp@parliament.uk

2) The Government has pledged £5.8bn to the climate finance fund between 2016 and 2021, an increase of 50% from within the existing ODA [aid] budget. Source: Department of Energy & Climate Change, Finance boost to help protect developing countries from climate change (27 September 2015)

3) Friends of the Earth in November 2015 said: “It is not clear how the additional spending on climate finance will impact on other development projects.”