The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

For the next two weeks delegates from around the world will be attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. This is an important event where members of the UN will try to agree a framework to cut carbon emissions by 2012 and thereafter. This is the first international summit on Climate Change where a US President will be in attendance and is expected to make a commitment. The last time a similar treaty was signed was the 1997 Kyoto agreement, but without the backing of the USA the treaty largely failed to achieve the ambitious targets set. Now that President Obama is attending Copenhagen, hopes are running high that an agreement can be reached.

So far President Obama has pledged a 17% cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, 30% by 2025, 42% by 2030 and 83% by 2050. Britain, along with the rest of the EU, has pledged to cut 20% from 1990 levels.

I am supportive of action on climate change and am not sceptical about it. It is good that we question the evidence being put forward by our scientists, but many of the sceptics’ arguments seem to me to be nitpicking the details: from the Maldives to Moscow the evidence in support of global warming is clear to see.

I am personally backing the 10:10 campaign and have raised the importance of reducing our carbon emissions in the House of Commons a number of times. The last time I spoke in the Chamber I asked the Government to “send out a message ahead of Copenhagen that this is not going to be yet another occasion that is all about warm words and signing up to something vague and meaningless, but that it will be an occasion when the world means business.” It is vital that firm and long lasting commitments are reached at Copenhagen this year.

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