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Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

Lead international action against climate change

Last updated: 02:31pm 8 December 2019

We will continue to lead international action against climate change, and the degradation of habitat and loss of species.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.38

Our verdict

Over the last decade, the Paris Agreement, made effective in 2016, stands out as a groundbreaking moment in environmental policy, with 160 nations united around a single framework to reduce polluting emissions. The UK is party to the agreement under a joint pledge by member states of the European Union. Prior to that, the 2008 Climate Change Act made the UK the first country to introduce long-term, legally binding national legislation to combat climate change.  This policy promise to continue the UK’s leadership role in international action to combat climate change.

In May 2019, MPs passed a motion to declare an “environment and climate emergency”, making the UK Parliament the first in the world to do so. At the June 2019 G20 Summit in Japan, Prime Minister Theresa May called on G20 countries to set targets for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

On June 27th 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pass laws committing to a zero emissions target by 2050. Nevertheless, according to the Committee on Climate Change, as of July 2019, the UK was lagging behind even on its previous, less stringent emissions targets.

The UK is still one of the countries leading the world in advocating for global action against climate change, and became the first major economy legally bound to a zero emissions target by 2050. There is certainly room for debate about the credibility of government commitments – or whether they go far enough – but based what has been promised, along the evidence above, we are marking this as ‘done’.

Lead with the facts!

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