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Global climate deal 'must be fair'

A new global deal to tackle climate change must have "credible and fair" commitments from all countries to reduce emissions, Ed Davey said.

Unveiling the UK's vision for a new international climate agreement, the Climate Change Secretary said failure to secure a deal at talks in Paris next year would reduce the world's chances of keeping global warming to manageable levels.

But Mr Davey said key ingredients were in place for a "truly global deal", with businesses recognising the opportunities, growth in investment in renewables and support from activists, industry and investors.

The Government's Paris 2015 document sets out the "overwhelming" scientific case for action on climate change, the risks the UK faces - from floods to food shortages - and the benefits to the economy, health and well-being of tackling carbon pollution.

It also sets out what is needed from a global treaty to keep temperatures from rising to dangerous levels, and how to get there.

Mr Davey said the European Union should show the lead on climate change in the run-up to the negotiations in Paris by signing up this year to a target of at least 40% domestic greenhouse gas cuts by 2030 on 1990 levels.

And he called for the G7 and G20 to follow suit so that by the time negotiators meet in the French capital next December there are "no surprises" in what countries will pledge to do to tackle emissions.

While all countries needed to take action, nations should contribute to addressing the problem according to their circumstances, so that states such as India could see emissions continue to rise in the short-term as they develop.

Mr Davey said: "Our vision is of a successful agreement in Paris that reflects the economic realities, that reflects individual countries' abilities to make contributions, is sensitive to their industrial development and the standard of living of its people.

"We need an agreement that is credible - and fair - with emissions reductions from all countries - but with commitments that reflect the ability of countries to make reductions."

He also called for support for the poorest countries to help them develop cleanly and adapt to a changing climate.

A failure to curb climate change would put the UK at risk of extreme weather, increasingly frequent and severe flooding, heatwaves, storms and gales, as well as rising food prices and costs of materials, and increasing international instability.

But there are "huge economic opportunities" in a deal, which would spark international investment in low-carbon technology and innovation, and energy efficiency, the Government's report said.

For the UK these could include hundreds of thousands of low-carbon jobs, a booming small and medium enterprise sector and energy efficiency measures which cut consumer bills and improve living standards.

Speaking at a conference at Aviva Investors today on reaching a global climate change deal, Mr Davey will say: "While the negotiations will undoubtedly be challenging, I judge the prospects of a comprehensive climate change deal to be the best since we first began this journey many years ago."

Efforts to secure an legally-binding global deal on climate change failed in Copenhagen in 2009.

The previous agreement, negotiated in Kyoto in 1997, was never ratified by the US and did not include developing countries such as China, whose emissions have grown to the point that by 2020 they will be greater than the EU and US combined.

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