Responding to the Prime Minister’s remarks at the opening of COP21, Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance said: “David Cameron has made a passionate case for the UK Climate Change Act to be used as a structure to strengthen the international climate agreement. Without a review mechanism like the UK’s carbon budget, the Paris deal could lock out any chance of staying within 2 degrees of warming.
“It’s a great shame that he doesn’t talk about his determination to tackle climate change when he is on British soil. As the Prime Minister said, we’ve got the technology to act and the knowledge of what inaction means. It’s his reticence to give his cabinet clear marching orders on climate change which explains the growing gap between the UK’s international leadership and declining business confidence in UK low carbon policy.”
David Nussbaum WWF-UK’s Chief Executive said: “The Prime Minister’s assurance that taking action against climate change is ‘not difficult, it’s doable’ is a welcome sign that the Government is ready to get down to business in Paris.
“With their opening speeches, leaders have injected significant political energy at the start of the talks to give negotiators a mandate to leave Paris with a clear plan that will close the emissions gap, protect the vulnerable and ensure that the resources needed to address climate change are delivered.
“These talks will be judged not on words alone but also on the actions that each country, including the UK, takes to decarbonise their economies.
“In the run up, we have seen encouraging signs by the world’s biggest economies that can bring us a step closer to a future powered by renewable energy.
“The UK’s announcement that it will become the first major economy to phase out coal from its energy sector is one piece of this puzzle. The ball is now in the Government’s court to bring a strong deal home from Paris.”
The UK, Germany and Norway announced that they will support the Colombian government in its ambitious plans to protect rainforests which will protect biodiversity as well as contribute to tackling climate change.
David Nussbaum said: “This partnership is a great example of the kind of commitments we need to ensure climate action before 2020 and to increase or accelerate national emissions saving targets.
“The Governments of Colombia and the UK, along with Norway and Germany, have shown leadership and I hope many will follow their lead – from forest and donor nations alike.”
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “That husky must be turning in its grave. David Cameron shamelessly tells the world he is committed to tackling climate change and urges everyone else to get on with it when his own energy policy will deliver the opposite, with dreams of nuclear that won’t come true, baseless assumptions about fracking actually working and cuts all round for renewables.
“Since the election, the UK Government have made changes that guarantee we will not meet climate or green energy targets. This is a problem for Scotland with our target of 100% renewable electricity in just 5 years’ time. Our very successful industry will be set back years because of the Tories’ ideological objection to windfarms and solar.
“Communities and individuals who wanted to do their bit to tackle climate change and benefit from the renewable energy revolution have been seriously undermined by the Treasury’s drastic cuts to support mechanisms.“
“In Scotland we’ll stop burning coal to make electricity next March and the priorities will be to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy, on the way to a fossil-free Scotland. Sadly the UK’s backwards policies will slow down our ability to play to Scotland’s energy strengths and frustrate communities who are planning to make their own energy.”