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Environment Environment

Lead global action against climate change

Last updated: 12:11pm 15 January 2019

The United Kingdom will lead the world in environmental protection. As Conservatives, we are committed to leaving the environment in better condition than we inherited it. That is why we will continue to take a lead in global action against climate change, as the government demonstrated by ratifying the Paris Agreement.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.40

Our verdict

The Paris Agreement is an international treaty which outlines global actions to tackle climate change. It came into force in 2016 and 195 countries agreed to commit to this global goal (although the US announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement in 2017). In the same year, the UK government independently pledged to pass legislation to support the long-term global goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

No such legislation has been forthcoming, but in October 2017, the government published its Clean Growth Strategy , which it calls a “blueprint for Britain’s low carbon future”. And in July 2018, the updated National Adaptation Programme was launched to tackle the effects of the changing climate.

The government is taking action against climate change, and at least one non-partisan organisation judges the UK to be a global leader in this area. The Climate Change Performance Index 2019 (CCPI) ranks the UK as the number one G20 country in terms of its performance on climate change (but not number one overall).

Based on various government initiatives and the high CCPI ranking, we’re giving this policy a status of ‘in progress’. The difficulty here is how to define what “lead the world” means. It could mean “be among the leaders” or it could mean “be the leader”. We’ll consult with other organisations and are looking for clarification from the government too. Follow this policy for updates.

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