I agree that tackling climate change needs to be an international effort. I am proud of the work that the UK is already doing in this area. For example, the UK was the first G7 economy to legislate to achieve net zero and since 1990 the UK economy has grown by 75 per cent while cutting emissions by 43 per cent.
The Prime Minister has set out his Ten Point Plan for a net zero recovery which will not only create thousands of British jobs, but also invigorate our plans to achieve net zero by 2050. The UK is also calling on world leaders at COP26 to put forward their own ambitious targets or commitments to help eradicate their contributions to climate change.
The UK has an ambitious new emissions target of a 68 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, compared to 1990 levels. This Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Climate Agreement commits the UK to reducing emissions by the fastest rate of any major economy. This also builds on the Ten Point Plan and puts the UK on the path to net zero by 2050, leading the way in tackling climate change globally.
However, I am delighted that the Prime Minister has gone even further and adopted the UK's Sixth Carbon Budget, thereby enshrining in law a target to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035. In line with the recommendation from the independent Climate Change Committee, this Sixth Carbon Budget limits the volume of greenhouse gases emitted over a 5-year period from 2033 to 2037, taking the UK more than three-quarters of the way to reaching net zero by 2050. I welcome this decision, which is the world's most ambitious climate target, as it ensures the UK remains consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts towards 1.5°C. In addition, this marks the first Carbon Budget which incorporates the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions.
I was pleased that world leaders, when they met at the G7 in June 2021, committed to limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C. In addition, they confirmed they would reach net zero by 2050 and reach a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030. While this was welcome, I am pleased that the UK's climate targets are more ambitious, and I hope other countries work towards further ambition.
I was also encouraged that at COP26, nations came together for our planet and made history with an historic agreement to phase down coal and a roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The Glasgow Climate Pact is the first ever global agreement in which every country has signed up to phase down unabated coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel. 65 countries have now committed to phasing out the use of coal power, and all major coal financing countries have committed to end international coal finance by the end of 2021. There is still a huge amount more to be done, but COP26 will be looked back upon as the beginning of the end of climate change.
I also share the concerns raised about the debt vulnerabilities in developing countries, which have been amplified by coronavirus. This is why I am glad that the UK, alongside G20 and the Paris Club of official creditors has committed to a historic suspension of debt repayment from the world's poorest countries through the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI). As of November 2020, forty-six countries have requested to benefit from the DSSI, amounting to an estimated USD 5.7 billion of 2020 debt service deferral. This allows beneficiary countries to increase social, health or economic expenditure. This spending is monitored by the IMF and World Bank to ensure that it is done in accordance with the spirit of DSSI.
G20 Finance Ministers have also agreed a “Common Framework for Future Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI”, whereby private sector creditors will be required to implement debt restructurings that are at least equivalent to those agreed by official creditors. This agreement should pave the way for more equitable and effective case-by-case debt restructurings, which are likely to be required as part of the recovery from the Coronavirus crisis.
Separately, the UK is providing £1m over two years to the African Legal Support Facility, which provides expert legal and financial advice to African countries, specialising in creditor litigation; and £4m over 5 years to fund the Debt Management Facility, a joint IMF-World Bank trust fund focused on building debt management capacity in low income countries.
At COP26, countries committed to raise $100 billion annually for climate finance through to 2025, helping developing countries tackle climate change. The Glasgow Climate Pact urges developed countries to fully deliver on the $100 billion goal urgently and through to 2025, and emphasises the importance of transparency in the implementation of their pledges.
When the UK achieves net zero, we will have eliminated our contribution to climate change, which as of December 2019 accounted for 1.2 per cent of global emissions. Many other countries will hopefully follow our ambition, particularly those with a larger share of global emissions. The COP26 agreement requires countries to return in 2022 with a more ambitious 2030 emissions reductions target in line with the 1.5°C target, ensuring crucial momentum on climate action is maintained this decade.