The UK is recognised globally as “a leader” in reducing carbon emissions.
That’s according to Sir David King, UK Special Representative for Climate Change, who was speaking at the EU’s Copernicus’ launch of new data to help the energy and water industries yesterday.
He told ELN: “I think it’s generally recognised that Britain leads the way. We’re the first country to make the 80% reduction commitment by 2050.
“We were emitting in 1990, 10 tonnes per person per annum. Globally, we need to go by 2050 to two tonnes per person per annum so by taking Britain on a route to 80% reduction we are doing what we think every country needs to do.”
Sir David, who will represent the UK at the COP21 conference, believes an agreement on tackling climate change will be reached but much more work will need to be done following that.
He also said the UK could play a role in influencing other countries.
Sir David added: “My role will be to say ‘this is a very good beginning, we will get an agreement in Paris I think because we have 157 nations already signed up, we will get an agreement but it’s not nearly good enough’. You’ve seen from my risk analysis that we need considerably more work in order to stay at less than 2°C. We must see 2°C as the absolute maximum since the industrial revolution, anything more than that becomes extraordinarily difficult to manage the world economy as we move forward in time.
“I think what is critically important in Paris is yes, lets reach an agreement but we need to understand that we need much more work after Paris to see that every country reduces its emissions more quickly than they have promised in Paris, including Britain.”
Global temperatures are on course to pass the 1°C mark above pre-industrial levels, according to the Met Office.