It gives me great pleasure to report to the House on the United Nations conference of parties in Paris last week. COP21 has delivered an historic new global climate change agreement that takes a significant step forward towards reducing, on a global scale, the emissions that cause climate change. For the first time, nearly 200 countries have made a commitment to act together and to be held accountable. In doing so, this agreement will help to protect not just our environment but our national and economic security, now and for generations to come. As the Prime Minister said in his speech at the start of conference:
“instead of making excuses tomorrow to our children and grandchildren, we should be taking action against climate change today.”
I am proud to say that there are no more excuses. With the Paris agreement, we have shown that the world has committed to action.
This deal is unequivocally in Britain’s national interest. It moves us towards a level playing field at a global level within which the UK’s society and businesses can thrive, as we transition to a low-carbon economy. This is a deal we are wholeheartedly committed to, recognising that action by one state alone cannot and will not solve climate change. It is what we do together that counts.
This is a moment that all parties in the House can take significant credit for. Together, we passed the Climate Change Act 2008, which set an example to the world of what ambitious domestic climate action looks like. Together, since Copenhagen in 2009, we have supported a long, difficult and complex negotiation, which has brought us to this point. I want to pay tribute not just to the Prime Minister and my colleagues across Government, but to my predecessors as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for all the hard work they put in to bring us to this point.
As a country, we should be proud of the role we have played, leading in the European Union, working closely with major global players, including the US and China, and leading many of the negotiations. My Department, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, has worked tirelessly to build the political conditions and the capacity to enable countries to act. The UK team in Paris last week showed commitment, passion and resilience. When Laurent Fabius asked me to chair the finance session at 4 am on Friday morning, I was well supported, and when I left at 6.30 am, they stayed to write up the conclusions and send them to the presidency. That, Mr Speaker, was commitment.
The UK played a key role in building alliances and shared positions, especially with the most vulnerable countries, to ensure that pressure for ambition could be maximised. The deal in Paris was not done to us; it was done by us. Indeed, it reflects many of the elements that we as a country have already committed to as part of the Climate Change Act. Of course Paris is not the end of the road. We cannot sit back and say, “Job done.” Far from it: Paris is the beginning. Now the hard work to implement the agreement begins.
Let me turn to what the nearly 200 countries have agreed. First, we have set out a clear long-term goal for the world to achieve net zero emissions by the end of the century. The long-term goal sends a strong signal to investors, businesses and policy makers that the shift to a global low-carbon economy will happen and it provides the confidence needed to drive the scale of investment required. We have confirmed our collective ambition to limit global temperature rises to below 2° C. We have agreed a further aspiration of 1.5°. However, the current level of commitments by individual countries will not meet this ambition, so crucially, countries will come back to the table to assess overall progress towards the 2° goal in 2018 and every five years thereafter.
As investment grows and the costs of low-carbon technologies come down, the Paris process will provide not just the opportunity but the political pressure to step up individual countries’ emissions reductions targets. Starting in 2020, countries are expected to update their own plans to cut emissions, and will be legally obliged to do so again every five years, thus providing regular political moments to scale up ambition.
This agreement is not only comprehensive in its scope, as it also recognises the role of both developed economies and emerging economies in helping the poorest and most vulnerable countries to protect themselves from the effects of climate change as they transition to a low-carbon economy.
Over the last five years, the UK’s £3.87 billion international climate fund has been helping millions of the world’s poor better to withstand extreme weather and rising temperatures. At the UN Secretary-General summit in September, the Prime Minister announced a significant uplift to increase climate finance by at least 50% with £5.8 billion-worth of climate finance over the next five years to support poor and vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change and to curb emissions. This is part of a global commitment to mobilise $100 billion a year from both the public and private sector to protect the most vulnerable and support economic growth from 2020. Other developed countries, including Germany, France, the US, Japan, and Canada have all recently announced increases in their climate finance.
Important as the Paris agreement is, we will achieve our ultimate ambition only if it acts as a catalyst for transformational action from all parts of society. That is why it has been so important to see real action over the last month from business and civil society. A new initiative, for example, called “Mission Innovation”, will see some of the biggest global economies—including the UK, US, and India—doubling their investments in clean energy research and development. Crucially, it is private investors who will join us in this endeavour to bring down the costs of low-carbon technologies.
Here in the UK, we have committed to doubling spending in clean energy research and development, so that by 2020 we will be spending in excess of £400 million. That pledge has been matched by 19 other countries worldwide. This is in recognition of the fact that we will tackle climate change effectively only if we find technologies that are both clean and cheap. Let me emphasise that the announcement I made last month—that I would set out proposals to close coal by 2025 and restrict its use from 2023—added to the momentum at Paris.
The Paris agreement truly marks an historic turning-point. It builds on the Kyoto protocol, and for the first time ever provides the comprehensive framework in which not just developed countries, but nearly every country of the world has committed to take the global action needed to solve a global problem. Of course, it was hard fought and of course it required compromise to bring everyone with us. Of course, too, it has not solved every problem in one go.
Now we have to set about implementing the commitments made, but we should not underestimate the significance of what has been achieved. All parties have recognised that economic and global security requires us to tackle climate change. All have come together to commit to a single goal—net zero carbon emissions by the end of the century. All have agreed to set out plans to curb emissions and to be held accountable for their actions. We have made a huge step forward in meeting our responsibilities to this and future generations. As the excellent Executive Secretary to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, said:
“I used to say we can, we must, we will. Now I can say we did.”
I thank the Secretary of State for her statement, and for giving me advance sight of it. I also thank her for paying tribute to successive Secretaries of State on both sides of the House. She is right to recognise that the cross-party consensus that has existed since 2008 helped to build the road to Paris, and gave the United Kingdom its voice in the negotiations. It is a precious legacy for all of us, and we must not allow it to fracture now.
For the first time, leaders from nearly every country in the world have come together to cut carbon pollution and set us on the path to a cleaner, greener future; to agree on a common goal of building a carbon-neutral global economy within a generation; to reduce pollution; and to switch to cleaner energy—and, as the Secretary of State rightly recognised, all countries have agreed to raise their ambition every five years until the job is done. I particularly welcomed the Secretary of State’s announcement that the developed world would do its fair share by providing at least $100 billion of finance to assist poorer and more vulnerable countries.
This is a moment to celebrate, not because the agreement is sufficient—we must be honest about the fact that the pledges made by each country do not add up to a commitment that will keep temperature rises well below 2°—but because it gives us enough to take us much, much closer to climate safety, and sends a clear signal to global financial markets that the era of unchecked fossil fuel use is coming to an end.
This accord is testimony to the fact that we are stronger and safer when we work together, both at home and abroad. Our voice has been heard more loudly because we have worked closely with our friends in the European Union and we have spoken together, united and with one voice. Our voice has also been heard because of the hard work and the skills of our lead negotiator, Pete Betts, and his team in the Department for Energy and Climate Change, who worked tirelessly with Sir David King and his team of diplomats in the Foreign Office to secure the agreement. Let me place on record our thanks for what they have achieved. Let me also commend the dedication of the British scientists, campaigners, faith groups, business leaders and civil society organisations who mobilised public support for this global deal. Last month, along with some of my hon. Friends, I joined hundreds of thousands of people to march peacefully through the streets of London, Edinburgh and other major cities around the world, to ensure that our collective voice was heard in the negotiating rooms of Paris.
The question that must now be asked is “What does this deal mean for Britain?” In recent months, the Government have made a series of decisions that have reversed our progress on the road to climate safety. Ministers have attacked the cheapest options for achieving carbon targets, and household energy bills may rise as a result. Last week, during the Paris negotiations, they decided to raise household and energy bills again through the capacity market auction. Hundreds of millions of pounds will go to energy companies to keep open power stations that would have been open anyway. It is difficult to see how that is consistent with what the Secretary of State has said today, and with her claim to be acting to control costs. Will she explain that to the House today?
Ministers have also undermined our progress on carbon capture and storage, which is crucial to ensuring a just transition and support for climate change action from the communities of Britain who work in the important industries that rely on fossil fuels. In Yorkshire and Scotland, communities, scientists and engineers are reeling from the Chancellor’s decision to axe a £1 billion fund for CCS. Can the Secretary of State tell us today that that decision will be reversed?
The Government have wasted no time in blocking new wind farms even where they enjoy strong local support, and have made severe and short-sighted cuts in energy efficiency and solar power schemes. Thousands have lost their jobs, and thousands more could still do so. Millions around the world will go into the coming winter facing the prospect of cold homes and high energy bills, and in this country that is avoidable. The Government’s decisions will cause immense damage to human lives and to the planet.
Following the Prime Minister’s important words in Paris, will the Secretary of State demonstrate to the House that the Government as a whole will listen, and that they will prevent the Green Investment Bank from being sold off in a manner that will remove its green mandate, leaving it free to invest in fossil fuels; cancel the new tax on more efficient vehicles; and stop another tax raid on the renewable energy industry? All those steps will take us backwards on climate change and jeopardise jobs in the industries of the future. It raises this question: what is this Government’s plan for meeting Britain’s climate change commitments? The Government’s own advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, recently warned that existing energy policy is “failing”, and only this morning the CBI called for more clarity for British business. On news of the Paris deal and the goal it contains to limit global temperature rises, its director told the BBC:
“Businesses will want to see domestic policies that demonstrate commitment to this goal”.
So can the Energy Secretary confirm whether her Government’s recent string of green U-turns will now be reviewed in the light of the new assurances we have that every country will play its part in addressing climate change?
Secondly, can the Energy Secretary confirm that the UK will continue to support raising European targets on reducing carbon pollution by 2030, to ensure we are making our fair contribution to the international effort and grasping the maximum potential for our economy from green industries? Finally, will the Energy Secretary ask the independent Committee on Climate Change to review the adequacy of Britain’s existing carbon reduction targets in light of the new internationally agreed goal of limiting global temperature rises to well below 2 °C, and ideally to no more than 1.5 °C?
Two weeks ago the Prime Minister said that when we look back, we will ask
“what was it that was so difficult when the world was in peril?”
The Secretary of State rightly said in her statement to the House that there are no excuses, and I look forward, as do all my hon. Friends, to hearing how she intends to breathe life into this historic landmark agreement.
I thank the hon. Lady for her questions and welcome her support for the overall global deal. In answering her questions, I would make the following points. First, the UK’s emissions are 1.2% of the world’s, so our emphasis must be on making sure we get an international deal. That is why we were so committed to it. That is why we spent the past week flat-out trying to achieve it, and working to ensure we got China into the deal, which is responsible for 26% of the world’s emissions—more than the EU and the US combined. We remain committed to the Climate Change Act and to making sure we go forward on a low-carbon future, but there is no value in it if we do not actually have influence in the rest of the world. That is what we achieved this week: making sure that that influence was absorbed and taken on, so we reached that agreement—very late on Saturday night.
To answer the hon. Lady’s questions about our position in this country, I repeat that we are committed to the Climate Change Act 2008 and to our goals and our carbon budgets, but the difference between her side of the House and ours is that we will not risk security of supply and we will not put additional costs on consumers. She asks about the capacity markets but I am afraid that her interpretation is wholly wrong. The purpose of the capacity market is to take absolutely no risks with security of supply. That is what we have done, and we are proud of doing that.
In terms of the actions on renewables, this is about ensuring that our consumers pay the right price for the renewables to which we remain committed. As the costs of renewables come down, it is absolutely right that the subsidies come down. It is completely wrong to characterise us as having any negativity about renewables. We remain committed to them, but we will continue to make provision for them at the best value for money.
As far as CCS is concerned, it was a tight spending round in the review with the Treasury. The cost was £1 billion, and we made a decision not to proceed with the fund. I believe that CCS is going to play an important part in decarbonising in the future, particularly industrial CCS, and we will work internationally to make progress on that. Overall, this Government are absolutely committed to a low-carbon future that is value for money and constantly provides security to consumers and families.
As far as I am aware, there are only two peer-reviewed studies that have computed the total reductions in emissions promised by the member states at Paris, fed them through the standard climate model and calculated the impact on future temperatures. Both have concluded that the temperature in 2100 will, as a result of this treaty, be a mere 0.2 °C below what it would otherwise be. Has my right hon. Friend any alternative figures, and would not the trillions of pounds being spent on such a puny achievement be better spent on alleviating poverty and eradicating disease?
I thank my right hon. Friend for his question, but at its core is a suggestion that what we are doing will not alleviate poverty. On that he could not be more wrong. Particularly through climate finance and the investment that will come from the private sector, which Governments will be able to leverage, we will help to alleviate poverty and provide energy in areas of Africa and India that have never had it before. That is an essential part of what we will achieve.
Several hon. Members rose—
Order. I should gently point out to the House that hon. or right hon. Members who were not present at the start of the Secretary of State’s statement should not expect to be called. Now that I have made that point, it would be rather unseemly for them to continue to stand, as well as fruitless.
I add my thanks and that of my party to the Secretary of State, her team and all those both at home and abroad who made the deal possible. The term “historic” has rightly been used in the rhetoric, but we will be judged not on words but on deeds.
We very much welcome the money to be provided to those most at risk from climate change and to those who have contributed least to it. That is the theme of climate justice, which I have spoken about here before. The deal is not perfect, and it has been acknowledged that it is not enough. We need to up our game both at home and abroad if we are to meet the target of a 2° C rise or well below, and extensively so if we are to meet the aspiration of a 1.5° C rise.
It strikes me that we almost have two Secretaries of State—the one who made her eloquent statement extolling the virtues of the low-carbon economy, and the one who answered questions and reiterated some of the appalling betrayals that the green economy has suffered at the hands of this Government. She said in her statement that there are no excuses, but for the past six months I have heard excuse after excuse. On onshore wind—excuses. On the solar feed-in tariffs—excuses. On carbon capture and storage—excuses. On the Green Investment Bank—yet more excuses. Will she rethink those policies and reinvest in them, or are we to hear yet more excuses?
The world stands on the brink of a global green revolution, and the economic possibilities are enormous, yet we seem determined to throw away our lead in various technologies. To use the words that my hon. Friend Mr MacNeil regularly uses, the Government are being penny-wise but pound-foolish. There has been betrayal on carbon capture and storage—I had to question my hearing when it was said that it had a bright future in the UK following the recent decision. It might, but it will be technology developed by others, and others will make the money out of it. That is so short-sighted that it is beyond belief.
Scotland wants to play its part, and we can play our part, but we require this Government to match their rhetoric with deeds. Will the Secretary of State back the green economy and allow us to play our part, or will we hear yet more excuses?
I simply do not agree with the hon. Gentleman’s characterisation. I share his enthusiasm for the low-carbon economy, but we are going about it in a different way from the one taken under the coalition. We are making sure that we deliver better value for money, and we are investing in the future in a way that has not been done over the past 20 to 25 years—for instance, with nuclear and with offshore wind, which I am sure he would support. While supporting the low-carbon economy, we must also maintain security of supply, and I am sure he will continue to support the Government’s commitment to oil and gas in Aberdeen.
My right hon. Friend will recall meeting my concerned residents in Wealden, who talked about other countries’ commitments to climate targets. What is her Department doing to encourage other countries to meet their climate targets?
My right hon. Friend rightly says that not all countries have the same resources as we do to meet their targets. I am happy to say that we have a number of helpful tools that we offer in working with other countries, such as the global calculator. It helps them to work out what steps they need to take to meet their targets, and we expect to step up that engagement to help them to do so.
I commend the Secretary of State for her role in this agreement and, in particular, the formation of the so-called “high ambition coalition” between developed countries and vulnerable countries, which was such an important part of getting the deal that she did. Labour Members want her to be part of a high ambition coalition at home as well as abroad. She mentioned the very important goal of net zero emissions contained in the agreement—I believe this is to be in the second half of the century. Can she confirm not only that that will apply globally, but that it must apply to each and every country that is a signatory to the agreement?
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his words, and I certainly share his enthusiasm nationally for high ambition—perhaps less of the coalition, for now. It is a great achievement to have the zero emissions target within the long-term goal, but for now the UK will continue to focus on our Climate Change Act targets for 2050.
Given that the UK’s climate change laws are stricter than the obligations agreed in Paris, does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a real risk of British business being put at a competitive disadvantage if we do not cut the costs of energy, particularly for energy-intensive companies?
My hon. Friend is right to highlight the issue of competitiveness. The fact is that getting this global deal is a way of addressing that issue, because other countries will have to step up and make the same sort of plans that we are making. But the best way to reduce the costs of energy is to drive them down through the sort of actions this Government are taking.
In all the acres of media coverage of the Paris agreement, George Monbiot sums it up best:
“By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.”
I welcome the inclusion of the 1.5° goal, but it is meaningless without policies to deliver it—in particular, keeping the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. Will the Secretary of State tell us how the Government’s recently agreed duty to “maximise” the economic recovery of oil and gas is anything other than completely incompatible with what she has just signed up to in Paris?
I am going to interpret that as a cautious welcome from the hon. Lady. There is an element of this deal that she must agree is rather extraordinary: having 200 countries participate. The answer to her question is that we cannot take any risks at all with energy security. Maximum economic recovery is absolutely a commitment from this Government. We have to get a balance right. We have to make sure that we protect energy security while growing our low carbon economy—we can do both.
I, too, congratulate the Secretary of State and her team on what they have achieved in Paris. She will be aware that since 1990 the UK has decreased emissions by about 28%, which is faster than the EU average, whereas other EU countries have had difficulty in achieving anything like that. Indeed, Austria, Holland, Spain and Portugal have all increased emissions since 1990. What processes exist within the EU to make sure that that is not allowed to continue?
My hon. Friend, who is so experienced in this field, has highlighted the issue of the EU sharing of responsibilities, which we will move to next year. I do not doubt that this will be a challenging negotiation, but the UK’s experience is that we can demonstrate our leadership by showing that we have driven down emissions while growing our economy. We hope that we will be able to demonstrate that to other countries and encourage them to follow suit.
First, I thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of her statement and congratulate her on her involvement in the Paris talks. Will she now take the chance to review and reset the last six months of policy of her Government? Solar and onshore wind—the cheapest forms of renewable generation—energy-efficiency and carbon capture and storage have all been cut. Will she look again at the diesel generation loopholes and make sure that transportation plays its full part? Those are to name but some things. I fear that this Government view investment as cost today, rather than as, more correctly, savings for the future, except of course when it comes to nuclear. Just what will change in her Department as a result of the Paris talks?
I am happy to say that the Paris agreement allows us to continue on the path that this Government have set in delivering a low carbon future, sticking to our Climate Change Act commitments and always ensuring that we take no risk with security of supply and that we provide value for money for consumers.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on what has been achieved and the French Government on their magnificent hosting of this summit. Given that much of the climate finance pledged by the wealthy nations is likely to be classified as official development assistance and that many of our friends in Europe show no real sign of increasing the amount of ODA that they are giving as a percentage of their gross national income, is she concerned that some of this climate finance might be taken away from the amounts available for the refugee crisis in Syria and other concerns around the world?
My hon. Friend is right to praise the French Government who managed this summit in an extraordinarily able way and with great diplomatic skill. The matter of the $100 billion to be mobilised by 2020 is challenging for everybody involved, and we will constantly return to it to ensure that it is delivered, but let us not forget that the money is “mobilised”, so it is not entirely the Government’s to deliver; it is also an attempt to generate private sector influence as well.
Let me add my congratulations to all those involved in the important talks in Paris. One of the most remarkable things about the agreement is the aspiration to hold reductions to 1.5 °C. As the Secretary of State rightly said, the Paris process adds political pressure to emissions reduction. Will she apply some of that political pressure on the Chancellor of the Exchequer who said the other day that he had inherited zilch and that the decision on carbon capture and storage was not a cut?
I think I will just welcome the hon. Lady’s comments about our 1.5° ambition, which was achieved while working very closely with the high ambition coalition.
It is no longer a question of whether the world tackles man’s impact on the climate, but when. It is a huge achievement to have included developing economies in that ambition, and to have made that ambition realistic. What part can we play in accelerating research and development for game-changing technology, and what part will the clean energy from Hinkley Point in Somerset play in that process?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that the distinguishing factor of this agreement, rather than of previous ones, is that it includes developing countries. We are committed to ensuring that we work across other Governments to develop new energy sources through our programme of mission innovation. I also agree that nuclear power, including that from Hinkley
Point, which is the first new nuclear deal to be commissioned for 25 years, will be an important part of the low carbon future.
The Secretary of State is correct in wanting a level playing field between Britain and other countries, but the failure of Paris to reach the aspirations of the Durban conference to have legally binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions from all countries must put this country at a disadvantage because we do have legally binding commitments. We have already lost great chunks of the steel industry and the aluminium industry. How will the right hon. Lady produce that level playing field to the advantage of our industries?
The hon. Gentleman raises an important point about competitiveness. Although there are some elements of this that are not legally binding, there are plenty that are. The fact is that every country has to come back every five years and to demonstrate what they are doing. There will, I hope, be a political moment at that point. Non-governmental organisations, civil society and businesses will be watching and campaigning to ensure that we always make progress. Countries cannot go back on their commitments; they can only go forward. The hon. Gentleman should not underestimate the impact that this deal will have internationally.
My hon. Friend asks a good question. Most of our criteria were met, but nobody will have left the conference saying that all their criteria were met. That is how we got a deal—everybody had to compromise a little. That was the achievement of the agreement.
I thank the Secretary of State for a landmark statement. I congratulate her on her personal stamina at 4 am and in particular on the tribute that she paid to her predecessors of all political parties. I think she will agree that the fact that Europe has spoken with one voice was a significant part of the process. None the less, there is still the inconsistency. Does she not agree that, although it was essential that we signed up to ambitious targets in Paris, there is an inconsistency in our scrapping schemes, signed in the last Parliament, that had a meaningful role in dealing with climate change at home?
The success of the Paris agreement was the intended nationally determined contributions that each country had to make and come forward with to participate. Almost every country had done that by the day of the agreement. But those are voluntary and very few countries criticised each other. Each country delivers in its own way. That is what the UK will continue to do.
I reassure my hon. Friend that the big influence on our CO2 emissions is generally from the power sector and industry. We will monitor them constantly to enable there to be continued reductions.
I also commend the Secretary of State and her officials for the part that they played in securing the Paris agreement. With that agreement in place, Britain will need to be more ambitious, if anything, when it comes to emissions reductions yet the Government are struggling to meet their renewables target, particularly when it comes to heat and transport. As in so many areas, the Chancellor ultimately calls the shots, but will the right hon. Lady let the House know what progress she has made in persuading the Secretary of State for Transport to do more to decarbonise that sector?
The Secretary of State will be aware that the largest percentage of electricity generated today still comes from coal-fired power. Will she give further reassurance that, as we move to a lower carbon future, consumer prices will remain at the forefront of her thoughts, as well as continuity of supply and carbon leakage?
I reassure my hon. Friend that we would in no way sacrifice our security of supply as we move towards a low carbon economy. I can also tell him that putting an end date on coal is an important part of making sure that we meet our low carbon future. We should be proud of the fact that we are the first developed country to put an end date on that.
Does the Secretary of State have full confidence that the funding commitments and action plans that Governments have signed up to will be adhered to? I commend her on her statement and the work that went into the agreement, which uses human rights language much more strongly than any environmental agreement had used before. But how confident is she about adherence and follow-through?
The hon. Gentleman is right that the financial contributions—the $100 billion by 2020—were a key element in bringing on developing countries, which had never participated before in this sort of commitment. That is one side of the agreement. It is absolutely essential that we deliver on it, but Governments and businesses—not only Governments—are going to do that. The success of the agreement over the next five, 10 or 15 years will be tested if that does not happen.
I congratulate the Secretary of State and her whole team on the part they played in reaching this historic deal. She will know that it is not only about acting globally, but about acting locally. Will she join me in paying tribute to community groups, such as Transition Town Totnes and Sustainable South Brent, and to groups all around the country? They are keen to meet her to talk further about the role they can play to further the goals.
I will always be delighted to meet my hon. Friend’s constituents. She is right that it is much more effective if these actions are taken locally and nationally, but above all not top-down internationally.
Will the right hon. Lady bridge her rhetoric to reality by announcing investment in the Swansea, Cardiff and Newport tidal barrages scheme, which will exploit for the first time ever the neglected immense power of the tides, which are entirely predictable and, when linked to power schemes in the valleys, are entirely demand-responsive? Tidal power is green, non-carbon and eternal.
The hon. Gentleman is right. We are looking closely at the opportunity for tidal power. My Department is now engaging in due diligence and if tidal power can meet the targets of being secure, clean and affordable, we will certainly take it very seriously.
We will carry out a consultation at the beginning of next year in order to address that, but I have been very clear in the policy choices that I set out that we expect to bring on more gas to cover some of the coal that will be coming off.
Investors in renewable energy tell me that they want certainty from the Government’s energy policy. Can the Secretary of State set out the key targets and milestones for the implementation of the Paris agreement to provide the certainty that is necessary for investment to be made in renewables?
Many of our targets have not changed as a result of the Paris agreement, although of course I will be discussing them closely within my Department. We have already set out our plans for offshore wind and we will shortly set out our plans for solar.
The Scottish First Minister announced £12 million of climate justice funding in addition to the Scottish Government’s international development fund so, building on some of the other questions, what new money for climate adaptation will be announced as a result of the agreement, and will be it additional to existing official development assistance commitments?
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been very clear. As I said in my earlier comments, he has already announced a 50% increase in our climate finance, which has been very much welcomed by developing countries.
Does the Secretary of State agree that this is good news from Paris, but that the hard work now begins, turning aspiration into action? Does she agree that we must maintain the vision that this country has had for some time of sharing intellectual property and innovation with many other countries? For example, the Engineering and Physical
Sciences Research Council committee on sustainable production, which I chair, shares with other countries innovation that can reduce their carbon emissions?
The hon. Gentleman is right. That shared vision across different countries is essential. Confidence in the technology section of the agreement was very important for some of the developing countries. I should add that we have doubled our innovation spending on energy to join the Americans and other developed countries in Mission Innovation, which is all about sharing investment and technological discoveries.
I congratulate the Secretary of State on her role in achieving this historic agreement. Does she accept that if the Government are to meet their commitment and show leadership in the world, they must change their approach to renewable energies, in particular to onshore wind?
That was a cautious compliment from the hon. Gentleman. That is not what I found internationally. In discussions with other Ministers, I found a lot of interest in what we were doing to drive down the costs of renewables. Renewables should not have a subsidy forever; the point is to try and engage with the industry to lower the cost. The success of a truly low carbon international economy will be achieved when the cost of green energy is reduced.
As a Co-operative party MP, I have long been a supporter of co-operative community renewal energy schemes, of which there are a number in this country. When I met representatives of one such company last week, they told me that the uncertainty that the Government have created around the feed-in tariff was causing them problems with planning into the future. How will the Secretary of State provide policy certainty for such groups who want to do their bit in meeting this agreement?
I remind the hon. Gentleman that over the past 15 to 20 years the costs of solar panels have come down by 80%, so it is right that the subsidy comes down accordingly. I will shortly make an announcement about what it will come down to, and I am sure he will be interested in the result.