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Subsidy cuts looming, David Cameron urged to reconsider following Paris climate deal

The prime minister has been urged to intervene in planned cuts to solar power subsidies as a response to the signing of the Paris agreement on climate change at the weekend.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is

a slashing of the subsidies for solar panels, potentially by nearly 90%, in line with a concerted push by the government in recent months to roll back green measures.

The move would be disastrous for the solar industry, businesses have warned, costing jobs and impairing the UK’s ability to meet its renewable energy targets. But a former Conservative energy minister said ministers might yet reduce the level of cuts.

In Paris on Saturday, governments including the UK signed a new global agreement on climate change, that would hold global average temperature rises to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, while further obliging nations to work towards a more stringent goal of a 1.5C limit. Scientists estimate warming beyond 2C is likely to mean catastrophic and irreversible impacts, while 1.5C would swamp many low-lying areas, including Pacific islands.

Amber Rudd, the energy and climate change secretary, said the UK did not yet have policies in place to meet the 1.5C goal, and its focus was on keeping under 2C of warming: “We remain committed to being as ambitious as we can, but at the moment it’s only the [policies to meet] 2C that’s operational. The 1.5C [goal], I would say, is aspirational.”

Critics pointed to the contrast between the massive subsidy cut planned and the stance David Cameron and his ministers took at the Paris climate conference. The Paris agreement was hailed by Cameron and other world leaders as a “historic step” to protecting the world from dangerous global warming.