Theresa May has announced that the UK will ratify the Paris Agreement by the end of 2016 and possibly within a matter of weeks. This follows ratification this month by the world’s highest emitting countries, China and the US, which are jointly responsible for 38% of global emissions.
In order for the Paris Agreement to enter into force, there is a requirement that it is signed by 55 countries, representing 55% of emissions. A tranche of 30 countries signed the agreement last week while attending the UN General Assembly in New York, taking the current status to 60 countries, representing 47.76% of global emissions, having signed. The ongoing status can be followed here.
There had been speculation that because the UK had originally committed to an emissions reduction target as part of a wider EU commitment, the Brexit vote would mean that the target had to be renegotiated. However, the recent announcement by the Prime Minister demonstrates that the government plans to press ahead regardless. The UK government is still due to publish a carbon reduction plan that will meet its own domestic targets, set in the fifth carbon budget. The new carbon plan was originally planned for the autumn but Environment Secretary Nick Hurd has said it could well be delayed until 2017.