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Written Statement - The Annual Report and Warsaw Summit on Climate Change

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Sets out Wales’ progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and summarises actions taken to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change.
Alun Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food

I am today launching the Welsh Government’s second Annual Report on Climate Change.

This report outlines the progress we have made against our targets set out in the Programme for Government and our Climate Change Strategy and summarises the action that we have taken to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change. It shows that we have made positive progress. For our 3% annual emissions target in devolved areas, we have exceeded the target with a reduction of 10.1% and for our wider target to reduce all our emissions by 40% by 2020, the report shows a reduction in emissions by 20.6% against the 1990 baseline.  

The report also breaks down the emissions and sets out the actions we have taken to tackle climate change by key sectors - with nearly all having significantly reduced their emissions and the public sector in particular playing a leading role by achieving the highest emissions reduction percentage.

Our report is timely in following on from the report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and my accompanying written statement in October and the UN Summit on Climate Change in Warsaw last month.  In summarising the key action we have taken to both mitigate and adapt to the real impacts and reduce the vulnerability of our sectors in Wales, it shows how we are responding to this wider context - in both responding to the risks that the science highlights and working to realise the opportunities that the global transition to low carbon is bringing.  

After the extended final talks, the Warsaw Summit took some positive steps on the road to a new agreement in Paris in 2015, with all major economies now tasked with setting out their proposed contributions by the 1st quarter of 2015. This highlights how the global context will continue to be shaped by climate change going forward and clearly visible in Warsaw was the priority major economies such as China are now placing on low carbon industries.  In addition, commitments from the summit on the Green Climate Fund and a new process towards the $100 billion annual fund to help developing countries cope with climate change show the scale of global investment. This underlines how our approach in tackling climate change is also vital in helping to ensure that Wales will be well placed to take advantage of the growing economic opportunities.  

The Warsaw summit also saw the UN’s first ever formal day focused on a ‘Cities and Subnational Dialogue’ and a key outcome from Warsaw is the formal recognition by the UN of the key role of governments like ours in taking action on climate change.  I had the privilege of addressing an event held at the Summit by The Climate Group and the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD), which was striking given the contrast between the slow progress of negotiations between nation states and the number of regional governments demonstrating real ambition and practical action on climate change.  

The Annual Report and the outcomes from Warsaw represent positive progress.  However, in order to continue to deliver against our targets in the long term we need to do more.  I will therefore be refreshing our climate change policy in 2014.  In doing so we will focus on the practical action we can take to deliver not only on our emissions targets but to increase resilience and prosperity.  Our government priorities go hand in hand with our climate change objectives in striving for a low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive Wales.