Cameron, Clegg and Miliband sign joint climate change agreement

Friday 13 February 2015
Alastair Harper Alastair HarperHead of politics020 7630 4527aharper@green-alliance.org.uk
In a highly unusual move the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have agreed to work together across party lines to tackle climate change.

The agreement[1] follows the launch of The Climate Coalition’s SHOW THE LOVE [2] campaign which has reached millions across the UK, thousands of whom are wearing green hearts and telling the world what they love that could be lost to climate change.

This agreement comes after commentators have questioned UK political commitment to climate action, and business investors have asked for more certainty about the UK’s low carbon direction. The cross-party agreement includes commitments to seek a strong global climate deal and to end the use of unabated coal in power generation.

2015 is a pivotal year for climate change negotiations which run all year and culminate in the December Paris summit. Today’s statement highlights the contrast between the UK and countries where climate change is a deeply partisan issue such as the US, Australia and Canada.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have jointly pledged:

- To seek a fair, strong, legally binding, global climate deal which limits temperature rises to below 2°C.
- To work together, across party lines, to agree carbon budgets in accordance with the Climate Change Act.
- To accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient low carbon economy and to end the use of unabated coal for power generation.  

The agreement has been widely welcomed across the political spectrum and from business leaders:

Former vice president of the USA, Al Gore, said:
"This agreement represents inspiring leadership and true statesmanship by all three men.  The political courage it represents on all sides is exactly what our world most needs in order to solve the climate crisis. Thank you! Thank you! And thank you!"

Lord Howard of Lympne, former leader of the Conservative Party, said:
“I welcome this cross-leader agreement which will send a signal to our partners around the world that the UK is serious about our responsibilities as stewards of the environment.”

Marylyn Haines Evans, chair of Public Affairs Committee of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: 
“With nearly three quarters of British women saying that tackling climate change cannot be left to future generations, the global leadership shown by the three main UK parties today is a vital step towards making a real difference for future generations, something that’s a real priority for WI members.”

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, said:
“The importance of this pledge cannot be overstated.  In this critical year, both for the international climate change negotiations and the agreement of the sustainable development goals, this statement of cross-party recognition of the importance of climate action, as well as support for a legally binding global deal, sets a terrific example for other countries to follow.” 

Mark Wilson, Group CEO, Aviva plc, said:
“As insurers and investors, we are well used to thinking about sustainability in the long term. This statement represents political leadership on a key issue at a crucial time.”

Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: 
“Consensus is a rare thing in British politics, but this makes agreement even more powerful when it is reached. I applaud party leaders for setting aside their differences to lay out the common ground on climate action that exists between Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.  Investors should take reassurance that the UK will remain on its current path to decarbonise its economy irrespective of who wins the election.”

Juergen Maier, CEO, Siemens plc, said: 
“The low-carbon transition represents a major economic opportunity and a consistent UK policy framework was a crucial factor in Siemens’ decision to make a multi-million pound investment in wind turbine production and installation facilities in Hull.  This demonstration of cross-party support sends a clear message that the UK remains a good place for global companies to do low-carbon business."

Lord Nicholas Stern's comments can be read here.

Leaders’ comments:

David Cameron said:
“Climate change poses a threat not just to the environment, but also to poverty eradication abroad and to economic prosperity at home. I strongly support a global deal at Paris this year to tackle that threat head-on.”

Nick Clegg said:
"Tackling climate change today for a better future is something I have taken very seriously in Government. It’s an issue that crosses all political divides, and the pupils I’ve met are living proof of the strength of feeling out there for protecting our environment. This is a crucial year as world leaders meet to discuss how we protect our environment long into the future, taking crucial decisions that will impact generations to come.”

Ed Miliband said:
“I believe tackling climate change is the most important thing I can do in politics for the long-term future of my kids and their generation. The conference in Paris is crucial to anyone who cares about the future of the planet, our shared economic future and the national security of our country. I will not leave those principles behind at the door to Downing Street and I will do all I can to secure an ambitious agreement in Paris.” 

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For further information, high res images or to request an interview contact:
Karen Crane, Green Alliance: kcrane@green-alliance.org.uk 07792 735 210 
Or, after 2:30pm on 13 February: 
Andrew Hogg, Christian Aid: ahogg@christian-aid.org 07872350534
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Notes to editors
[1] This agreement  was brokered by Green Alliance supported by Christian Aid, CAFOD, Greenpeace, RSPB and WWF. Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. Founded in 1979 “to inject an environmental perspective into the political life of Britain.” www.green-alliance.org.uk
[2] Show the Love is a Valentine's Day campaign from The Climate Coalition. Find out more online at fortheloveof.org.uk and theclimatecoalition.org