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December 6, 2011

UK news – Focus on Durban


There is a flurry of interesting UK news stories on ESTH issues – here’s an update on the UK’s position on climate change negotiations, check back for more blogging. With Energy & Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne arriving in Durban for the UN Climate Summit, the UK Government has been making the case for urgent action on climate change and urging countries to sign up to a legally binding global agreement.

Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Chris Huhne said all major emitters must “commit at Durban to a comprehensive global legal framework, and to complete negotiations as soon as possible and by 2015 at the latest.” The Secretary of State has called for action on climate finance and deforestation. Watch a webinar  with Huhne, hosted by the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition.

The UK Government’s Carbon Plan  has been released to coincide with negotiations in Durban. The Carbon Plan shows that UK emissions have been cut by over 25% on 1990 levels and sets out how the Government plans to meet its 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 80%. The Energy and Climate Change Secretary told negotiators that the Carbon Plan demonstrates the UK is “walking the walk” and demonstrating “climate leadership”. To those at home concerned about the cost of going green in difficult economic times, the Secretary of State said the Carbon Plan shows “the gradual rebalancing of our economy away from carbon is achievable and, in the long run, highly desirable.”

Commissioned by the Energy & Climate Change Secretary, the Met Office  has published scientific reports on the observations, projections and impacts of climate change on 24 countries, including the U.S. The studies look at crop yields, food security, water stress and drought, and flooding and warn that without action on climate change temperatures could rise between three and five degrees Celsius this century. Richard Jones, at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said the reports had “begun the important work of applying a globally consistent approach to assess the impacts of climate change at the national level.”

On climate finance, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced that the UK is on track to meet its £1.5bn contribution to Fast Start Finance  by the end of 2012, with over two thirds of its Fast Start Finance allocated. At the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009, developed countries committed nearly $30bn “fast start” funding between 2010 and 2012 to help meet the adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries. DECC has revealed details of a financial package for Africa from “fast start” funding, which forms part of the UK’s £2.9bn International Climate Fund.

Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman has also pledged £10million to support a project based in the Cerrado, central Brazil, to tackle deforestation, from the UK’s International Climate Fund. The Secretary of State said “If we’re going to stop the loss of biodiversity, we need to protect our forests – which house the majority of the world’s wildlife. We won’t succeed in tackling climate change unless we deal with deforestation.”

Catch daily updates from the UK delegation here.

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