EU Environment Ministers met today in Brussels and announced that the bloc has agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The UK’s Green MEPs have welcomed the news and are calling on the UK government to now ratify the agreement without delay. The European Parliament is expected to seal the decision in a vote next week. The EU’s ratification must be followed by individual agreement from all member countries.
Jean Lambert, MEP for London, said:
Its good news that all 28 EU member states have agreed to make this move and help the global agreement on climate change enter into force. The timing is important – China and the US are already on board and India says it will sign up this weekend, so the EU’s decision comes not a moment too soon if it is still to be seen as an active force on this vital issue.With 2016 virtually guaranteed to be the hottest year on record, and new warnings from scientists about the scale of the climate challenge, the action required to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target in the Paris agreement cannot be underestimated. There is no time to lose. UK taxpayers’ money needs to stop propping up fossil fuel suppliers with eye-watering subsidies and go instead to a clean energy transition and the green jobs that come with it.
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West, and Green Party’s spokesperson on EU relations, said:
The EU has been crucial for the fight against dangerous climate change and has set targets which prevented our government from totally crushing the renewable energy sector. But as we prepare to leave the EU it is a worrying fact that many of those who campaigned to leave and are now steering our course and are deeply sceptical about climate change and not remotely interested in pushing for a renewable energy transition.So it is critical at this time that climate campaigners, those from the renewable energy sector, progressive politicians; indeed, anyone who cares about a safe and secure future, work together. We need to pile pressure on the government to sign the Paris Agreement without further delay, to stay within the single market which will protect the most important climate and energy targets, and to bring about the transition that will make climate stability a reality.
Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East, and member of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, said:
Again, the UK is set to follow where the EU leads, with Theresa May announcing her intention to ratify the Paris Agreement ‘sometime before 2017’. Such a loose and lackadaisical commitment demonstrates a failure to understand the importance of the agreement and suggests little intention of honouring it.With no indication from the government that it intends to drop plans to continue fast-tracking fracking and oil and gas drilling, or reject the ‘airport capacity crisis’ myth and say no to expansion at Gatwick and Heathrow, ratification is empty symbolism. Theresa May can sponsor the development of new fossil fuel reserves and encourage expansion of an aviation industry that already emits more CO2 than 129 countries. Or the Prime Minister can make a genuine commitment to meeting the climate objectives set out in the Paris Agreement. She cannot do both.