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Party leaders make joint climate pledge

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have signed a cross-party commitment to increase efforts to tackle climate change, regardless of the General Election result in May.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have signed a cross-party commitment to increase efforts to tackle climate change, regardless of the General Election result in May.

The agreement, brokered by Green Alliance and a number of other NGOs, commits the UK’s three major parties to:

  • Seek a fair, strong and legally binding global climate deal in the crucial UN climate negotiations in Paris in December
  • Work together to agree UK carbon budgets in accordance with the Climate Change Act
  • Accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient low carbon economy
  • End the use of unabated coal for power generation.

‘Good place for business’

The joint statement of intent from all three party leaders was well received by industry, with Unilever chief executive, Paul Polman, arguing that its importance “cannot be overstated”.

Juergen Maier, chief executive at Siemens, called it a “major economic opportunity”.

“A consistent UK policy framework was a crucial factor in Siemen’s decision [in April 2014] to make a multi-million pound investment in wind turbine production and installation facilities in Hull”, he said.

“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.”

Phasing out coal

The pledge to phase out coal is being seen is particularly notable for the green energy industry, given that no political party had explicitly committed to do so until now. 

Former Liberal Democrat leader, Lord Ashdown, said that businesses and investors should treat the agreement as “reassurance that the UK will remain on its current path to decarbonise its economy irrespective of who wins the election.”

UN negotiations

The cross-party agreement comes shortly after the close of 2015’s first international climate summit, in Geneva, in the lead up to December’s UN climate negotiations in Paris

On the prospects for a global climate deal in Paris, energy and climate secretary, Ed Davey, said there would be no “backsliding” from any party after May’s election.

“I am ever more confident that we will emerge from Paris with a comprehensive agreement that all [countries] will sign”, he said.