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Climate Change and the Environment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:04 pm on 8th February 2005.

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Photo of Alan Simpson Alan Simpson Labour, Nottingham South 3:04 pm, 8th February 2005

I shall try to be as brisk as possible, partly to allow other Members into the debate, but also because I want to make several points that I hope will upset the apple-cart in relation to the consensus of free trade assumptions on tackling climate change problems—the consensus that trade liberalisation and a free-for-all are somehow compatible with realising many of the goals that Members have identified today.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has just returned from a Brussels visit, on which we met a large number of Commissioners who were as passionate as any Member who has spoken today about climate change. Those Commissioners were brilliant—until we talked to other Commissioners with interests in trade, who were clearly running with a completely different agenda. When push came to shove, the environment got the shove. That is the crisis that we must face. It is a crisis of political leadership as much as a crisis of climate change.