Ed Davey writes: On the eve of a climate breakthrough …


Whatever the press report on the Paris UN Climate Change agreement, it’s already clear there are 3 things we should remind people about:

  • first, it’s great news the whole world has come together to make the first ever global climate change agreement, so elusive over the last 25 years;
  • second, the impressive commitments to cut greenhouse gases are huge steps forward – and should make the remaining vital steps easier and cheaper;
  • third, Liberal Democrats played a major role towards this agreement – in leading the UK’s policy for Paris, in shaping the European Union’s and by representing the UK at the previous 5 UN climate summits – the essential building blocks for this weekend’s success in Paris.

When we’ve digested the final deal on Sunday, I’ll comment on the details, but the success that’s now apparent means it’s important our party celebrates this deal – and owns the success here in Britain.

A major climate breakthrough is worth celebrating in its own right. But we need to champion it hard because of what our opponents will say. Climate denying Conservatives and UKIP said this day could never happen.  Now they will try to deny the agreement’s significance. Politically, it’s important we demonstrate they’re wrong again – not least ahead of the referendum on our EU membership.

Remember: the fact that countries ranging from the USA to China have so dramatically and positively changed their position on climate change is a disaster for their Lordships Nigel Lawson and Mat Ridley – the black knights of the fossil fuel cause; and it’s deeply uncomfortable for the gas-lover George Osborne, as he seeks to stop the massive investment in renewable energy the UK has been enjoying, thanks to the Lib Dems in the Coalition.

There are of course many reasons why a historic climate change deal has become possible in 2015.

The compelling evidence of climate change science was the necessary if not sufficient condition. Then there have been crucial technology breakthroughs and amazing cost reductions – especially in renewable energies like solar and wind.

Politics has been important too – from the completely undervalued British climate change diplomacy in countries like China – for which Messrs David Miliband and William Hague should take credit – to the leadership of President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Chancellor Merkel and Pope Francis.

But as one of the true leaders of the climate change cause here in the UK, let our party use this global success as a key rallying cry to our cause.

* Ed Davey is the MP for Kingston & Surbiton and Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • nigel hunter 12th Dec '15 - 11:37am

    Is it possible that the climate deniers have financial interests in gas, coal etc .that capitalism is their god? Have they considered the accidents at FUKASHIMA happening here? eg . a flooded nuclear power station? I hear that not only have they cut the green deal but are charging VAT on what is left of our renewable industries. Is the Green Bank safe in private hands?

  • Good , as ever to here from Ed on these issues, who did much in government that was often under reported and undervalued. you are noticeable by your absence in this government , which has not the record we as a party had ,and have, and you, Ed, had as a minister.What are you up to now ?

  • Amazing. The Paris Agreement has just been adopted. What an amazing achievement.

  • What has happened in Paris may well get down-played or ignored by our government, and Britain could drag its feet over what now needs to be done. The more sensible and enlightened Tories need to feel that there is moral and practical support for them to withstand Owen Patterson, for example. Amber Rudd is not very green – more ‘amber’ than green!
    Greens, Libdems, Labour (both strands) and the SNP must gang up to get our government to do at least what has been promised on paper and even, in the light of Paris, to go beyond that.

  • Margaret A. Rutter 13th Dec '15 - 3:11pm

    It’s is so refreshing to read that world leaders can come together and reach an understanding. I hope this is the start of many world meetings and the troubles of the world can be resolved without loss of life. Well done to all who were involved.

  • The clue’s in the surname not the first name – Rudd (y)!

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