David Martin MEP

Labour Member of the European Parliament and one of the six MEPs representing Scotland in Brussels and Strasbourg

The first-ever universal, legally-binding, global climate deal

Midlothian Advertiser, October 2016

At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December last year, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The radical agreement set out a global action plan to shift the world economy away from fossil fuels in an effort to limit heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

In October’s meeting of the European Parliament I and my fellow MEPs were extremely proud to be part of a large majority that voted to endorse the agreement’s ratification by the European Union. The endorsement of 55 parties representing at least 55% of global emissions was needed for the Agreement to enter into force. While the first condition had already been met, the European Parliament’s vote qualified the second condition as well. The EU will now join major greenhouse gas emitters including the US, China and India at a meeting in Marrakesh next month.

The European Union has a long track record of leadership against climate change and accounts for 12 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. Seven EU member countries have already completed their national domestic processes in order to comply with the agreement. These are Hungary, France, Slovakia, Austria, Malta, Portugal and Germany.

With the Parliament’s consent, the European Council can formally adopt the Decision and will now proceed to deposit the ratification instruments in the UN headquarters in New York. The Paris Agreement on fighting climate change, the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal, will now come into force in November, having met the necessary conditions much earlier than predicted.

I believe the vote underlined the important fact that cooperation and tackling issues together are the only solutions to global problems.

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