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Copenhagen Accord to kick-start immediate global climate action



COP15 - early morning, before negotiations begin. (Crown Copyright)

The move towards global and immediate action on climate change has been agreed as part of the Copenhagen Accord, following two weeks of intensive negotiations and two years of talks.


The Accord – agreed by major developed and developing country leaders and backed by a large majority of countries - will reinforce the need for strong domestic action on climate change across the world, as the UK is itself doing through its Low Carbon Transition Plan.

The Accord includes international backing for an overall limit of 2 degrees on global warming; agreement that all countries need to take action on climate change; and the provision of immediate and longer term financial help to those countries most at risk of climate change.

For the first time, the new Copenhagen Accord will also:

  • List what each country is doing to tackle climate change – including economy-wide commitments to cut emissions by developed countries and actions by developing countries
  • Introduce real scrutiny and transparency to ensure emission targets are put into effect, with mandatory reporting every two years for developing countries
  • Provide $30 billion of immediate short term funding from developed countries over the next three years to kick start emission reduction measures and help the poorest countries adapt to the impacts of climate change
  • Commit developed countries to work to provide long term financing of $100 billion a year by 2020, a figure first put forward by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in June of this year.


The UK and other countries will now be working to convert the accord into a legally binding agreement as soon as possible.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

“Our agreement today marks the start of a new phase in tackling climate change. Developed and developing countries have come together to take action and there is an unprecedented commitment of climate finance.

“Major developed and developing countries have signed up to tackle the problem and to limit global warming to 2 degrees. As countries enter their emissions cuts in the formal register by January 31st, they can and should make good on this.

“These negotiations have shown how hard it is to get agreement on such complex and profound issues. Today it took eight hours from the convening of the plenary in the early hours of the morning.

“There is much further to go, including ensuring we achieve a legally binding outcome for everyone. As the British Government, our aim is, as it has always been, to ensure that the politics catches up with the science. Today we made a start but we have a long way to go.”


The benefits to the UK of the shift to low carbon are clear and the UK stands by its domestic commitment to reduce emissions by at least 34% by 2020, and more if the European Union moves to a total 30% cut.


The UK wants to see the European Union move to a target of a 30% cut in emissions by 2020, compared with the current 20% figures, alongside other countries moving to the top of their emissions reduction ambitions.


Countries now have until 31 January 2010 to submit their commitments.


1. The final version of the Copenhagen Accord will be available on  
2. The Copenhagen Accord was discussed and debated in the final plenary session of the UN Climate Change Conference. It was supported by a large number of countries, and a Conference of the Parties decision was finally taken to note the Accord.