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Climate Change and the Environment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:17 pm on 8th February 2005.

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Photo of Margaret Beckett Margaret Beckett The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:17 pm, 8th February 2005

I agree with my hon. Friend that, indeed, such claims can have a damaging effect, and some of their manifestations are more bizarre than others. I was faintly surprised to hear that someone is now suggesting that there is no evidence of sea level rise. I should have thought that that was one of the easiest things to observe—in fact, it is taking place.

Our presidencies of the G8 and the EU give us the opportunity this year to refocus political attention both on the scale of the challenge and, indeed, on how we can meet it. As the Prime Minister said at the Davos meeting of the World Economic Forum, we need to send a clear signal of our common direction of travel to show that we are united as a world community in moving in the direction of greenhouse gas reductions, thus making that a signal that business and the global economy will understand and can follow. We need to underpin that with a firm push for research and technology and for the implementation of technological developments. We need to reach out to the developing world, both to those rapidly industrialising economies whose growing energy needs must be met sustainably and to the least developed countries, which—again, as the hon. Member for Lewes said—stand to lose most from the effects of climate change.