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Ministers hail 'historic' Paris climate change deal

Published 13/12/2015

The deal is the first comprehensive global climate accord
The deal is the first comprehensive global climate accord

Environment ministers on both sides of the border have hailed the international climate change deal struck in Paris.

Environment minister Alan Kelly and his Stormont counterpart Mark H Durkan both welcomed the weekend accord struck between 195 countries.

The deal is the first comprehensive global climate accord. Its core is legally binding and it commits all countries to take action to address global warming.

It includes a target to keep temperature rises "well below" 2C and commits to strive to curb increases to 1.5C, as well as a five-year review system to increase ambition on cutting emissions to meet the temperature goals.

The Paris Agreement also differentiates between countries as to their responsibilities for action and provides finance for poor countries to deal with rising temperatures, both key asks for developing nations.

Mr Kelly and Mr Durkan both attended the UN negotiations in Paris.

"This historic deal ensures a truly multilateral response to one of the largest challenges facing humanity," said Kelly.

"This Paris Agreement puts in place the necessary framework for all countries to take ambitious action, as well as providing for a transparency system that ensures we can all have confidence in each other's progress.

"It also puts in place the supports necessary - funding as well as technical assistance - for the most vulnerable countries."

Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK and Ireland without its own climate change legislation.

Mr Durkan expressed hope that would soon change.

"This global agreement is a result for everyone - our planet and our future generations," he said.

"During my time in Paris I was encouraged by the willingness of everyone to engage in serious discussion on tackling climate change. This milestone agreement shows that this was not just talk - real actions have been agreed that will make a real difference."

Mr Durkan added: "I also met ministers from across the UK and Ireland which provided the opportunity to exchange views on the impacts of climate change within our local areas and share our experiences in taking action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It was particularly useful getting an insight into the lessons learned in their use of climate change legislation.

"This has all made me even more determined than ever to take back the clear message from Paris of what can be achieved when we work together, when we show leadership, and when we recognise that there is a role for each and every one of us in tackling climate change and protecting our common home."

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