UK lays out post-Copenhagen negotiation plan

31 March 2010

The Climate Group's Damian Ryan reports on the release of the UK government's ‘International Climate Change Action Plan'

In an effort to reinvigorate global climate change talks, the UK government today released its ‘International Climate Change Action Plan’.

Launched by Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Climate and Energy, the plan sets out the UK’s strategy for building on the Copenhagen Accord and for delivering a new, legally binding international climate agreement. The launch coincides with the first meeting of the UN High Level Panel on Climate Financing, also held in London today and chaired by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Action Plan is the first from any government, post-Copenhagen, to propose steps and actions in the lead up to the next UN climate summit in Mexico in December. With the first UN negotiating session for 2010 taking place in Bonn, Germany in just two weeks, the plan is clearly aimed at laying the ground for a constructive first round of discussions.

The plan is in four parts:

  • The first assesses the outcomes from Copenhagen and developments since then;
  • The second restates why ambitious action is needed (a clear effort to rebut recent climate controversies);
  • The third sets out the actions necessary for developing low-carbon economies at the domestic, regional and international level;
  • And the fourth explains why a comprehensive, legally binding climate treaty is needed.
A focus on delivering the ‘fast start’ finance agreed in Copenhagen, proposals for strengthening the UNFCCC process, and a commitment not to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, are all likely to be welcomed by developing countries. Commitments to expand carbon markets and leveraging private sector capital, will appeal to the business sector.
Much of what is in the plan, however, is not new or already announced. But the reiteration of actions taken or planned, and the clear articulation of the importance of a global deal, sends an important signal to other governments about the UK’s commitment to moving negotiations forward quickly.  
In the wake of the disappointing Copenhagen summit, such impetus is to be welcomed. The challenge now, both for the UK government and for supporters of climate action generally, is to build support for more ambition and seal the deal that governments failed to deliver in Copenhagen. The Action Plan arguably provides a useful starting point to build from.
For a copy of the Action Plan see
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