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It's crunch time for a climate change deal - and the UK is pushing hard to seal one

An agreement can be reached but it requires strong political will, says the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

A couple of years ago the global community came together and set a self-imposed date for agreeing a legally binding deal to tackle climate change.  By 2015 we agreed to have a deal signed, and coming into force by 2020.  You might think we’ve been here before of course.  Copenhagen, Durban, Doha – each annual conference makes incremental steps forward.  But, we now have an opportunity, working steadily over this year and next, to seal a deal in 2015.

The science demands it. Climate change threatens the wellbeing of every person around the world and can only be addressed through a global response to reduce emissions.

Yet with each passing day the global task of keeping the temperature from rising by more than two 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level  becomes increasingly challenging and what we still need is the political will to take the action desperately required to protect our climate for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

We need to continue to raise ambition and match it with action. So today I join colleagues from 37 other countries in Berlin for the fourth meeting of the Petersberg Dialogue. I will discuss respective international and domestic action on climate change, and the way towards achieving the new legally-binding global deal under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015. 

We have a long road ahead of us to 2015. With many obstacles to overcome. Climate change is a complex challenge, and one that will not be easily solved.  While a huge amount of work is already underway around the world and many world leaders are beginning to recognise the need to step up the political commitment to address climate change, we now need a greater sense of urgency.

The UK coalition government has pledged to be the greenest government ever. At the Petersberg Dialogue, I will continue to set out the UK’s excellent emissions reduction framework and policies. For example, the first page of the UK’s Energy Bill makes it clear we will take powers to set a decarbonisation target for 2030.This is crucial work and the Energy Bill will reform the electricity market to keep the lights on and emissions down in a more cost-effective way, while reaping the economic benefits. I also look forward to hearing more about the other ambitious action which is taking place around the world, including in some of the world’s major economies.

Tackling climate change is not a luxury for the good times: for good and bad times it has become a necessity - but necessity is the mother of invention. This means taking tough decisions and challenging others – as well as ourselves – to do the right thing and be as ambitious as we can be as the world moves forwards to 2015. The UK has been applauded for playing a strong role in the international negotiations and we will by no means let up on our efforts.