At COP 21, or the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, 195 countries agreed to reduce their carbon output as soon as possible and to do their best to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees C, and to aim for 1.5°C.
Scientists believe that a greater increase in temperature would be very dangerous. The agreement establishes, for the first time, that we should in fact be aiming for 1.5°C, to protect island states, which are the most threatened by the rise in sea levels.
On Tuesday Parliament backed the ratification of the COP 21 world climate agreement reached last year in Paris. This means that the political process for the European Union to ratify the Agreement is concluded, and the European Parliament has called for it to be ratified as quickly as possible.
The EU, which played a decisive role in building the coalition which made the adoption of the Paris Agreement possible last December, is a global leader on climate action. The European Commission has already brought forward the legislative proposals to deliver on the EU's commitment to reduce emissions in the European Union by at least 40% by 2030.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said:
“Today, we are welcoming good news. The Paris agreement on climate change from December last year is a great achievement, in an otherwise challenging year for the EU and UN, and its ratification proves that Europeans can work together, to create compromises that work for all citizens.
“I voted for its ratification and I wholeheartedly support the agreement.
“However, now the real hard work begins!
“In this Parliament, as well as in Member State parliaments, we must create and implement the policies that ensure we meet the targets set out in Paris.
“We must ensure we create a ‘Just Transition’ that does not punish working people and communities, but instead offers new, high quality jobs for our constituencies and sustainable growth for our economies.
“Tackling climate change must be turned into an opportunity not just a challenge.”
Paul Brannen MEP said:
“Like most members of the EU parliament I voted today in support of ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change, probably the most important vote I've cast as an MEP.
“Now we have the plan, now we must act.
“The energy, industry and transport sectors must act to reduce emissions.
“But so must the land use sector. Agriculture has significant potential to reduce emissions, through agro-forestry for example.
“Forestry also has a major role to play as trees and timber soak up carbon, substituting for carbon intensive steel, concrete and plastic.
“So let's design a framework of rules that incentivise farmers and the construction industry.
“Working to the motto, 'Man's best friend is the tree'.”