Climate change is one of the most serious long-term economic threats that our country and world faces.
I am proud of the Government’s record on addressing climate change. The UK has played a leading role as the world has worked towards a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Paris Agreement.
Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40% while growing the economy by more than two thirds, the best performance on a per person basis than any other G7 nation. The Government’s Energy Act puts Britain firmly on track to meet the 2050 target to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases by 80% and underpins the remarkable investment that the UK has seen in its low carbon economy since 2010.
Natural gas has reduced our levels not seen since 1888! 280,000 jobs are supported by the oil and gas industry and we must bear this mind for a sustainable energy policy.
The UK is a world leader in clean growth and the Government has invested more than £52 billion in renewable energy in the UK since 2010. The Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy identify and target the huge potential opportunity for the UK from clean growth and transition to low carbon economy, while the National Adaptation Programme 2018-23 sets out a strategy for dealing with the effects of a changing climate. The Government has also agreed to support and expand offshore wind and made the historic commitment to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025.
The International Climate Fund has been set up to provide £5.8 billion to help the world’s poorest adapt to climate change and promote cleaner, greener economic growth. Through it, the UK works in partnership with developing countries to:
- reduce carbon emissions through promoting low carbon development;
- help poor people protect themselves from the effects of climate change; and
- reduce deforestation.
In addition, the UK supports efforts to integrate climate change policies into international development plans.
Government support has driven down the cost of renewable energy. Solar, for example, has seen costs fall by 35% in the last three years. I believe that support should help low-cost, low-carbon technologies to stand on their own two feet, rather than create dependence on public subsidies, which ultimately drive bills up for consumers.
That said, I do recognise the hugely pressing challenge we face, which is why Ministers have asked the Committee on Climate Change for advice on a net zero emissions target. Limiting climate change is also an international effort and I very much hope that the UK gets the opportunity to host the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2020, so we can further encourage our friends and allies to do more.
I echo the statement made by my Right Hon. Friend and colleague the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs during the debate in the Commons held yesterday, 1st May 2019:
“I make it clear that the Government recognise the situation we face is an emergency. It is a crisis, and it is a threat that we must all unite to meet.”
During my tenure as Member of Parliament for Gordon I have served on the Environmental Audit Committee whose remit is to examine how government department's policies and programmes will affect both the environment and sustainable development.
I hope that I have demonstrated the UK’s continuing commitment to low carbon energy, and I look forward to seeing this carried forward.