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Liberal Democrats

F6 The Paris Agreement and UK Climate Change Policy

Submitted by 26 members

Mover: Baroness Featherstone | Summator: Duncan Brack

This motion applies to    except 2, 3, 4 and 5 (lines 44-59) which are 󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 only.


The motion aims to allow conference to debate the party’s approach to climate change, a key part of our environmental policy programme.

It reiterates existing policy: the aim of a zero-carbon Britain by 2050 (i.e. a 100% reduction in net UK greenhouse gas emissions, from 1990, in place of the government’s aim of an 80% reduction) - arguing that this is necessary to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement on climate change - together with investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, low-carbon transport, carbon capture and storage and afforestation, as means of achieving this target.

It adds four new elements to existing policy: condemnation of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement; criticism of the Conservative government for repeatedly delaying the publication of its proposals for climate policy; an interim target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040; and a call for the closest possible cooperation with the EU on energy and climate policy.

Full text of the motion:

Conference welcomes the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change in November 2016, and its aim of holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2øC, and if possible less than 1.5øC, above pre-industrial levels, in order significantly to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

Conference recognises that the policies necessary to achieve the UK's contribution to these goals will bring major economic and social benefits, including improved economic competitiveness, growth in jobs, exports and prosperity, higher levels of energy security, a reduction in air pollution and the end of fuel poverty.

Conference applauds the increasing number of countries and major international companies which are now implementing their own ambitious climate strategies in the recognition that the transition to a low-carbon economy will create opportunities for growth, jobs and prosperity.

Conference condemns President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, and regrets the Prime Minister's anaemic response, and in particular her failure to sign the joint statement by the leaders of France, Germany and Italy.

Conference recognises that the UK is not currently on track to meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the 2008 Climate Change Act and that in any case the Act's target, of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, is not itself sufficient to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement.

Conference further condemns the Conservative government's repeated delays in publishing its proposals to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions, which has created uncertainty over the UK's future intentions and significantly delayed new investment in renewable energy.

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat aim of reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, and calls for an 80 per cent reduction by 2040, with the aim of meeting the Paris Agreement's 1.5øC goal.

Conference believes that the fulfilment of these goals will require the implementation of a comprehensive low-carbon industrial strategy, including, among other elements:

  1. Substantial and sustained investment in renewable electricity generation, including restoring government support for solar PV and onshore wind (helping meet climate targets at least cost), investing in tidal power (including proceeding with the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon), and supporting the development of demand management, smart grids, energy storage and interconnectors, to underpin this higher reliance on renewables.
  2. Investment in a major programme of improving energy efficiency in homes, buildings and industry, coupled with support for low-carbon heat technologies, including heat pumps, fuel cells, district heating networks and renewable hydrogen and biogas delivered through the gas network.
  3. Support for low-carbon transport, including promoting electric buses, taxis and cars, installing charging points for electric vehicles and encouraging city-level low-carbon transport strategies, including greater use of public transport, cycling and walking.
  4. .
  5. A restarted carbon capture and storage programme, aimed in particular at capturing emissions from industrial processes as well as gas-fired power generation.
  6. A major programme of afforestation, measures to increase soil carbon levels and the conservation and restoration of peatland areas.
  7. The closest possible cooperation with the EU on energy and climate policy, including continued membership of the internal energy market.

Conference welcomes the decision of the FPC to produce a full policy paper on energy and climate policy for debate by conference.

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