Business leaders welcome Paris agreement commitment

Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to ratify the Paris climate change agreement has been  welcomed by business leaders.

Some commentators had questioned May’s appetite for tackling climate change after she abolished the Department of Energy & Climate Change and merged it with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills over the summer.

May used her maiden speech to the United Nations to pledge that the UK would follow in the footsteps of countries including China and the United States.

She said: “In a demonstration of our commitment to the agreement reached in Paris, the UK will start its domestic procedures to enable ratification of the Paris agreement and complete these before the end of the year.”

Calls for emissions reduction plan

Rhian Kelly, Infrastructure Director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: “Having also committed to reducing emissions in the UK in line with the 5th Carbon Budget, business looks forward to working with the Government to develop a clear and credible plan to meet this ambition.

“There is no magic solution to climate change, but with business and the Government working together – developing innovative new products and services, and leading the way in cutting emissions – we can all move towards a sustainable low-carbon path.”

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of trade body Energy UK, added: “Government needs to deliver a credible emissions reduction plan across all sectors of the economy in order to turn this commitment into material progress.

“A carbon plan that everyone signs up to will boost progress towards a more sustainable future.”

Strong plan now urged

Environmental groups also welcomed the move, with WWF-UK Chief Executive David Nussbaum declaring it “good news for the planet, for the UK’s international standing, and for the green industries that have so much to offer by creating jobs and revenue from low-carbon energy, transport and infrastructure”.

He added: “We now need a strong plan that sets out how ministers will translate ambition into action.

“The expected industrial strategy would be a great place to set out clear low-carbon policies and give businesses an early opportunity to plan ahead.

“Ministers should also build on today’s foundations by backing a strong global deal to limit aircraft emissions at the International Civil Aviation Organisation conference in Montreal.”

> Read the CBI's comments in full