A landmark international treaty on climate change has been extended to the Isle of Man.
The Paris Agreement is a legally -binding treaty, agreed by 195 countries to limit the global temperature increase to below two degrees celsius, above pre-industrial levels.
It also attempts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.
The move means the island’s climate action will contribute to the UK’s commitment to reduce its emissions by at least 68% on 1990 levels, by 2030.
This agreement united almost all the world’s nations for the first time in a single commitment to combat climate change, when nearly 200 countries signed up in 2015.
The intention to extend the Paris Agreement to the Isle of Man (and the UK’s other Crown Dependencies) was announced at COP26 in Glasgow by the former climate minister Greg Hands, after a full review of the island’s plans to reach net zero by 2050.
Following a formal request from Chief Minister Alfred Cannan to the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the letter of extension to the Isle of Man has now been signed by the UK Foreign Secretary and deposited to the United Nations, which finalises the process.
Mr Cannan said: ‘It is a hugely significant milestone that will see the Isle of Man stand shoulder to shoulder with nearly 200 countries on the serious matter of climate change.
‘The formal ratification by the UK clearly demonstrates how seriously the Isle of Man takes its obligations on climate change and I would like to thank the Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Graham Stuart, and the UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly for recognising this and affirming and supporting our request.’
UK Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Graham Stuart MP added: ‘The Isle of Man has demonstrated strong climate ambition, including joining the UK to commit to reaching net zero by 2050. I look forward to working together to achieve our joint climate goals to keep 1.5⁰C within reach.’
It explained that the Isle of Man has already experienced the impacts of climate change, with 2022 being the warmest year on record, bringing increased risks of rising sea levels, coastal erosion, flooding, frequent extreme weather events and droughts.
Leader of the Isle of Man Green Party Andrew Langan-Newton said: ‘We are delighted that the Isle of Man Green Party’s calls have finally been listened to with the extension of the Paris Agreement to the Isle of Man.
‘This is a significant step forward in the fight against climate change, and it shows to a global audience that the Isle of Man is finally taking its responsibilities seriously.
‘The Paris Agreement provides a framework for action and cooperation to address the global climate crisis, and the Isle of Man can now be part of this collective effort.’
The political party is now calling on the government to set ‘ambitious plans’ for how businesses, community, and local authorities in the island will be able to access renewable energy before 2030, including rights to access the grid and duties upon Manx Utilities to prioritise the adoption of renewable energy.
It added that although the recent news of 30MW of renewables by 2026 ‘is welcomed’, it ‘does not go far enough’ and there remains uncertainty about private developer plans.
This comes after the news that the Billown solar farm planning application will go to the Council of Ministers for its decision, which the Green Party says is a ‘rarely used process’ reserved for applications of national importance).
The Isle of Man’s Paris Agreement application was underpinned by the Climate Change Act 2021, which sets down the ‘net zero by 2050’ target in law and provides a framework for ongoing action.