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UK ratifies Paris Agreement as support mounts for global pact

The United Kingdom (UK) has submitted its instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK)
Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK)

This was disclosed during a media briefing on Thursday, November 17 20016, by the UK delegation to the ongoing UN climate change summit (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.

The UK signed the pact on April 22, 2016.

This brings to 111 the number of Parties who have ratified the global treaty, out of 197 Parties to the Convention (UNFCCC).

Myriam Castanie, Media Officer, European Climate Foundation, described the development as a further reiteration of the continuing strength of support for the deal, even in the face of any potential move by U.S. President-elect, Donald Trump.

Some influential UK figures have been reacting to the ratification.

Michael Liebreich, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: “The Paris Agreement has been ratified by enough nations to remain in force with or without the US’s backing. The UK ratification is a sign that pragmatic countries will continue to address the climate challenge, and continue to use the Paris Agreement as the chosen framework for international cooperation.”

Liebreich is a well-known supporter of the UK’s governing Conservative Party.

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change – a forum of 130 investors with over €14 assets under management said on Thursdat at the COP22 in Marrakech: “Institutional Investors across Europe welcome the UK Government’s ratification of the Paris Agreement today. This encouraging announcement can only help sustain the ‘Spirit of Paris’ and the momentum behind the international consensus to drive substantial action on climate change.”

Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), which brings together 24 global businesses employing 2 million people worldwide, said: “The UK has a legacy of leadership in driving global climate action and helped to ensure a robust and ambitious climate agreement in Paris through its significant role in the High Ambition Coalition. The UK Government’s ratification of the agreement today sends an important signal to international allies, businesses and investors about the inevitable transition towards a zero carbon economy.”

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s International Climate Lead, speaking from the COP22 climate summit in Marrakech: “During a week in which the international climate negotiations have experienced the shock of the US elections, this backing by America’s oldest and strongest ally shows that support for global action to tackle climate change remains resolute. If the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States can’t shake countries’ resolve then nothing will. Not only have nations remained steady, a number have actively ratified the Paris Agreement since the election, including even the petro-state of Saudi Arabia.

“If a modern, post-Brexit Britain is to thrive it needs to be at the forefront of the global clean energy transition, something the UK’s low carbon sector is well placed to take advantage of. Market forces are clearly pointing towards the smart money being in clean tech. The country that dominated the first industrial revolution is now positioning itself to capitalise on the second

“Ratifying the Paris Agreement is also a recognition by the first country to industrialise that it has a duty to help and protect the very poorest and most vulnerable people in the world suffering the effects of climate change. We expect the UK to know back up this ratification with concrete actions that will rapidly cut its emissions in all sectors. Ratifying the Paris Agreement is a moral act by a country that understands it’s responsibilities in a globally interconnected world.”

Countries and organisations have in recent days reiterated their support for the Paris Agreement.

The High Ambition Coalition: “The Paris Agreement marks a turning point toward a more prosperous and stable world. Acting on climate change is in all of our national interests – it is good for our environment, good for our economies, and good for our climate security. Our commitment to be climate leaders remains steadfast, as is our commitment to work with the whole international community, including the United States, to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

Similarly, Brazil stated its continuous commitment to the Paris Agreement after the US election and highlighted the benefits of climate action and the acceleration of low carbon growth in the real economy.

The European Union (EU) declated its ongoing commitment to the pact, highlighted the benefits of climate action and the acceleration of low carbon growth in the real economy. The EU also stated their commitment to a process for bringing forward long-term strategies for 2018, noting that many member states are already coming forward and considerable efforts are being made.

China on its part affirmed its commitment to the multilateral process and that they will continue their actions. It emphasised that its efforts will not be halted and that it has confidence in the international community, and that it will continue to work with other Parties to continue climate action.

While Saudi Arabia said it would stick to Paris Agreement pledges in spite of Donald Trump, the leaders of India and Japan welcomed the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and reaffirmed their commitment to work together in developing the rules for successful implementation of the Agreement.”

Mary Robinson, a former Irish president and human rights advocate, was quoted as saying: “It would be a tragedy for the United States and the people of the United States if the U.S. becomes a kind of rogue country, the only country in the world that is somehow not going to go ahead with the Paris Agreement.”

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