Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the final approval on an historic international deal to tackle climate change.
"Today is an important day.
The talks at the COP21 conference in Paris have culminated in a global deal, with the whole world now signed up to play its part in halting climate change.
In other words, this generation has taken vital steps to ensure that our children and grandchildren will see that we did our duty in securing the future of our planet.
In my speech on the opening day of the conference, I set out the things I believed were needed to make this a good deal. I said it would have to ensure the world’s temperature would not rise more than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. In fact, the deal pledges to keep global warming “well below” that figure – just as Britain had been calling for.
I said it would have to be legally binding – and it will be. I said it would have to come with regular reviews; help for the poorest in the world; and a transfer of technology from the richest to the poorest nations.
It does all those things.What is so special about this deal is that it puts the onus on every country to play its part. Britain has already been leading the way in that.
For example, last year, in anticipation of the Paris talks, we led on securing the historic agreement with the rest of the European Union to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
We’re also the first country in the world to run a Green Investment Bank, dedicated to greening the economy. A few weeks ago, we even committed to ending unabated coal-fired power in this country.
But there is only so far we can go by getting our own emissions down. It is developing countries’ action that makes the real difference. But the problem is these are also the nations that can’t afford to invest in new technologies.
Here in Britain we’ve taken some significant steps to help them.
At the UN in September, I increased by a half Britain’s funding for tackling global climate change. We will help poorer nations invest in things like solar energy and flood-resistant crops, which are vital to halting climate change, as well as helping them to adapt to the impact of climate change.
At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting last month, I announced a package to support small island countries. We will help these countries to cut the cost of insuring themselves against the impact of climate-related natural catastrophes, and use their maritime resources to stimulate growth in a sustainable way.
This is only possible because we have kept our promise to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on overseas aid.
Over the last couple of months I have hosted visits from China’s President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi – countries which will be vital to driving down global warming, a subject which featured heavily in both visits.
A month ago tomorrow, Paris was the victim of the deadliest terror attack in Europe for more than a decade. Today, it has played host to one of the most positive global steps in history.
In striking this deal, the nations of the world have shown what unity, ambition and perseverance can do. We’ve secured our planet for many, many generations to come – and there is nothing more important than that."