Nicola Sturgeon hails historic climate change deal

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and secretary-general Ban ki-Moon, COP21 president Laurent Fabius and French president Fran�ois Hollande celebrate the deal. Picture: AP
UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and secretary-general Ban ki-Moon, COP21 president Laurent Fabius and French president Fran�ois Hollande celebrate the deal. Picture: AP
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An international agreement to tackle climate change has been hailed as a “big step forward” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon amid calls for urgent action to implement the historic deal.

Talks in Paris came to a close at the weekend after nearly two weeks of tense negotiations, with an agreement to cut emissions and reduce the increase of global temperatures to 2C.

World leaders welcomed the deal, signed by 195 nations, although some campaigners said it does not go far enough.

US President Barack Obama said it was “a turning point for the world” and China, the world’s biggest polluter, and India have also hailed the talks.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This historic agreement sends a signal of certainty about the global economy’s low-carbon future, in the same way as we did for Scotland through our world-leading climate legislation in 2009. We want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change falling on the poor and vulnerable.

“Now that the talking is over, what’s important is that the rhetoric is backed up by meaningful action – not least in the crucial area of energy policy where we need the UK to assist Scotland’s drive to develop renewables and carbon capture and storage.”

The agreement differentiates between countries as to their responsibilities for action and provides finance for poor countries to deal with rising
temperatures.

Criticisms have been made over the fact the deal is part legally-binding and part
voluntary.

Green MSPs called on the Scottish Government to set out a credible response to the agreement in this week’s draft budget.

Patrick Harvie MSP, finance spokesman for the Scottish Greens, added: “The intentions signalled by the Paris agreement cannot be achieved unless fossil fuels are urgently abandoned.

“Scotland’s response should acknowledge the direction of travel, and we are well placed to make the switch to clean technology to sustain our economy and our society.”

Tom Ballantine, chairman of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, who was in Paris as an observer, criticised “the failure to reach a strong, ambitious deal”.

He said: “The deal in Paris shows that politicians are plodding behind that popular global movement.

“Despite the failure to reach a strong, ambitious deal in Paris, we can take hope from the fact that change is happening.

“What matters now is how countries take action to deliver on the climate promises they have made in Paris. Words must be followed by action.”