The UK’s Prime Minister, deputy Prime Minister and leader of the opposition have committed to working together to battle climate change.

The cross-party pledge commits the leaders to seek a strong global climate deal in Paris this year; limiting global temperature to a less than 2°C rise. The agreement also sees all three major party leaders commit to end the use of unabated coal in energy generation and accelerate the transition to a competitive low-carbon economy.   

Reacting to the cross-party consensus on climate change and the signing of the pledge, former vice president of the US, Al Gore said: “This agreement represents inspiring leadership and true statesmanship by all three men. The political courage it represents on all sides is exactly what our world most needs in order to solve the climate crisis. Thank you! Thank you! And thank you!”

Greenpeace UK’s executive director, John Sauven particularly welcomed the leaders’ promise to end the use of unabated coal. He said: “This pledge marks a turning point in the collective effort to take Britain’s energy system out of the Victorian age and into the 21st century. For the first time all of the UK’s main political parties have committed to ending carbon pollution from coal plants, giving this country a better chance of tackling climate change.

“Burning coal is harmful to human health, catastrophic for the climate, and, with Russia our biggest supplier, a risk to energy security too. To put an end to all this, party leaders now need to set a clear expiry date on coal pollution, stop subsidies to coal plants, and start investing in the clean energy infrastructure this country really needs.”

The UK leaders’ agreement to tackle climate change has also been warmly welcomed by businesses who had accused the government of not providing the sector with the long-term confidence that it was serious about meeting the challenge of climate change. Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, said: “The importance of this pledge cannot be overstated. In this critical year, both for the international climate change negotiations and the agreement of the sustainable development goals, this statement of cross-party recognition of the importance of climate action, as well as support for a legally binding global deal, sets a terrific example for other countries to follow.”

Lord Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, concluded: “Consensus is a rare thing in British politics, but this makes agreement even more powerful when it is reached…Investors should take reassurance that the UK will remain on its current path to decarbonise its economy irrespective of who wins the election.”