Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing our world. And it is not just a threat to the environment. It is also a threat to our national security, to global security, to poverty eradication and to economic prosperity.
And we must agree a global deal in Paris next year. We simply cannot put this off any longer.
And I pay tribute to Secretary General Ban for bringing everyone together here today and forputting real focus on this issue.
Now my country, the United Kingdom, is playing its part.
In fact, it was Margaret Thatcher who was one of the first world leaders to demand action onclimate change, right here at the United Nations 25 years ago.
Now since then, the UK has cut greenhouse gas emissions by one quarter. We have createdthe world’s first Climate Change Act. And as Prime Minister, I pledged that the government Ilead would be the greenest government ever. And I believe we’ve kept that promise.
We’ve more than doubled our capacity in renewable electricity in the last 4 years alone. Wenow have enough solar to power almost a million UK homes. We have the world’s leadingfinancial centre in carbon trading. And we have established the world’s first green investmentbank. We’ve invested ￡1 billion in Carbon Capture and Storage. And we’ve said no to any newcoal without Carbon Capture and Storage. We are investing in all forms of lower carbon energyincluding shale gas and nuclear, with the first new nuclear plant coming on stream for ageneration.
Now, as a result of all that we are doing, we are on track to cut emissions by 80 per cent by2050. And we are playing our role internationally as well, providing nearly ￡4 billion of climatefinance over 5 years as part of our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our Gross NationalIncome on aid. And we are one of the only countries in the advanced world to do that and tomeet our promises.
We now need the whole world though to step up to deliver a new, ambitious, global dealwhich keeps the 2 degree goal within reach. I’ll be pushing European Union leaders to come toParis with an offer to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030.
We know from Copenhagen that we are not just going to turn up in Paris and reach a deal. Weneed to work hard now to raise the level of ambition and to work through the difficult issues.To achieve a deal we need all countries, all countries to make commitments to reduceemissions. Our agreement has to be legally binding, with proper rules and targets to hold eachother to account.
We must provide support to those who need it, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.It is completely unrealistic to expect developing countries to forgo the high carbon route togrowth that so many Western countries enjoyed, unless we support them to achieve greengrowth. Now, if we get this right there need not be a trade-off between economic growth andreducing carbon emissions.
We need to give business the certainty it needs to invest in low carbon. That means fightingagainst the economically and environmentally perverse fossil fuel subsidies which distort freemarkets and rip off taxpayers. It means championing green free trade, slashing tariffs on thingslike solar panels. And it means giving business the flexibility to pick the right technologies fortheir needs.
In short we need a framework built on green growth not green tape.
As political leaders we have a duty to think long-term. When offered clear scientific advice, weshould listen to it. When faced with risks, we should insure against them. And when presentedwith an opportunity to safeguard the long-term future of our planet and our people, weshould seize it.
So I would implore everyone to seize this opportunity over the coming year. Countries likethe United Kingdom have taken the steps necessary. We’ve legislated. We’ve acted. We’veinvested. And I urge other countries to take the steps that they need to as well so we can reachthis historic deal.