Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, Energy & Climate Change and Europe, responding to the Tory Government’s continued refusal to start the domestic process for ratifying the Paris climate agreement, said:
“The Government’s dithering and delay has made it now impossible for the UK to ratify the Paris climate deal before the next global climate summit at the beginning of November.
"Tory Ministers pretended there was no rush because the EU had to collect all 28 country agreements together before notifying the United Nations. But that excuse has now disappeared.
"EU leaders have now proposed an accelerated timeline, which would see the EU ratify the Paris Agreement in a matter of weeks.
"It is tragic to see the way in which the UK has gone from being a key climate leader to one of the countries holding up further progress.”
Notes to editors
- For the UK to complete its domestic ratification procedures, Parliament is given 21 days to scrutinise the treaty. With parliamentary recess starting today until 10 October, the Government has run out of time to complete the domestic process by 7 November, when the next UN climate conference begins in Marrakech.
- The convention is for all EU member states to formally submit their ratification documents to the UN together. This relies on domestic approval in all 28 member states, plus a decision by MEPs and EU leaders. In Labour’s Opposition Day debate last week urging ratification by the end of the year, climate minister Nick Hurd argued that this meant it was not a surprise the EU would ratify after major economies like the US, China and Brazil.
- However in his State of the European Union speech this week, Jean-Claude Juncker said, “It was Europe that brokered the first-ever legally binding, global climate deal. It was Europe that built the coalition of ambition that made agreement in Paris possible. But Europe is now struggling to show the way and be amongst the first to ratify our agreement. I call on all Member States and on this Parliament to do your part in the next weeks, not months. We should be faster. Let’s get the Paris agreement ratified now. It can be done. It is a question of political will.”
- Bloomberg has reported that Donald Tusk has added fast-track ratification of the Paris Agreement to the agenda for today's EU summit. Theresa May will not be attending the meeting, which was convened primarily to discuss the impact of Brexit on the EU.