Ed Davey MP writes…Signed, sealed and delivered, an ambitious climate change deal for Europe

Wind turbine - Some rights reserved by thomas vlWe’ve done it!  For Liberal Democrats in government, this EU climate deal is our most significant green win so far.  While Liberal Democrats are passionate about tackling climate change, the likes of Owen Paterson and UKIP seem to delight in talking down the threat that it poses, but that should make us even more determined to tell people why this deal is so crucial.

What have we achieved?  An ambitious Europe-wide climate change deal that will see greenhouse gases cut by at least 40% by 2030.  Other countries wanted a lower target, but I argued that the science demanded higher. And I was determined that if in next year’s UN climate talks other countries like the US and China show similar ambition, Europe should be ready to increase its efforts still further – so the words “at least” in the deal are more important than normal.

In the two years I spent working on this, I was also determined the deal was as flexible as possible so we could go green as cost effectively as possible – able to benefit from new technologies as they evolve.  We have built the world’s first ever low carbon,electricity market here in the UK to be technology neutral, and now Europe has copied us.

Effectively what we’ve done is Europeanise the UK’s Climate Change Act – the rest of Europe is levelling up to what the UK has already committed to do.

There’s also an added bonus.  This deal bolsters Europe’s energy security by moving away from imports and towards a mix of home-grown energy.  Mr Putin won’t enjoy reading that this deal will see the EU’s net energy imports reduce by 14%, and EU gas imports by 12% in 2030.

How have we achieved this?  Let’s just say that not everyone in government thought we could get agreement on this.  Some thought it was too ambitious.  But we pushed ahead with it, fought several battles and won cross UK Government agreement.

The key to getting this deal done has been working with like-minded European partners.  It’s been a long process, but working with those partners via the Green Growth Group that I set up has meant that we’ve won the argument and the deal has been done.

Make no mistake, this deal is the most significant environment agreement any UK Government has ever been involved with – and the Liberal Democrats led it in the UK and the EU. We can now say, this is the greenest government ever, thanks to the Liberal Democrats.

What comes next?  Well, my ambition for cutting climate change doesn’t stop here.  We now need to sell this package to the rest of the world.  Next year in Paris I want to see an ambitious global deal signed.  There is a lot of work to be done over the coming months to ensure we continue this momentum and pave the way for that deal.  Rest assured I’ll be leading the charge.

* Ed Davey was the MP for Kingston and Surbiton and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

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7 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Oct '14 - 7:56pm

    Ed Davey gets a lot of stick on here, but I hope people give him credit for this. He has shown a serious commitment and a passion for science. Importantly, he has also treated issues such as energy security and prices seriously too.

    I think he’s done a fantastic job. Well done.

  • Completely insane.

  • Eddie Sammon

    Articles written in the first person singular are not necessarily the most objective.
    Read these other reports of the same news story and tell me how many times Ed Davey is mentioned and that may give you a different perspective on events.

    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/eu-priorities-2020/eu-leaders-adopt-flexible-energy-and-climate-targets-2030-309462

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/24/eu-leaders-agree-to-cut-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-40-by-2030

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-24/eu-reaches-landmark-climate-change-deal/5839330

  • Geoff – I suspect given both the benchmark – emission levels in 1990 – on which the 40% reduction is based and the timescales – namely delivered by 2030 the ‘mixture’ will contain a lot of new nuclear. But then we missed the much easier Kyoto targets without incurring any political penalties, so I’m expecting this target to likewise be missed. However, at least we have agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so things are moving in the right direction.

  • I would urge LDV readers to check out a range of reports of the results of this deal. The piece above is, to say the least, not quite how everybody would interpret it. For example —

    Oxfam EU urged Europe to “review” its climate targets after what it described as a “weak climate package deal”. 

    “Today’s target of at least 40% of emissions reductions is welcome but only a first step, which falls far too short of what the EU needs to do to pull its weight in the fight against climate change,” said Natalia Alonso, Oxfam’s Deputy Director for Advocacy and Campaigns. “Insufficient action like this from the world’s richest countries places yet more burden on the poorest people most affected by climate change, but least responsible for causing this crisis.”

    “By leaving the possibility to increase the 40% target as part of the international negotiations, European leaders such as Merkel and Cameron acknowledge that what has been proposed is inadequate – today’s deal must set the floor not the ceiling of European action, and they must arrive in Paris with a more serious offer. It’s shocking that business leaders called for more ambitious targets than those agreed by EU leaders today”.

  • And the great thing is the EU are allowing the UK the privalage of paying an extra £1.7b towards the goal and increasing our annual EU contribution win win for the UK tax payer

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