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Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:06 pm on 7th September 2016.

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Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee 4:06 pm, 7th September 2016

The hon. Gentleman will no doubt take the opportunity to discuss that with his close colleagues in the Welsh national party, Plaid Cymru, who are incredibly enthusiastic about the prospect of a nuclear power station in a constituency that it represents in the Welsh Assembly. No doubt that will be an interesting discussion.

My concern is not so much that we are adopting renewable energy schemes, because I understand the arguments about the need for energy security and diversity, but if we go too far, we are going to end up adopting energy generation systems that will cost a lot more money. I have had a lot of emails recently from environmental groups complaining about Hinkley, saying, “Mr Davies, it costs too much. Solar power and wind power would be much cheaper than Hinkley.” I am tempted to suggest that the Secretary of State should have a look at those emails and, on this basis, perhaps cut the renewables subsidies further and bring them down below the £92.50 per MWh that we are promising for Hinkley, given that we are paying up to £150 for some offshore wind farms.

I also get frustrated when I receive emails from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and all these other environmental groups complaining about fuel poverty, because fuel poverty will get worse if we continue to have to pay more for our electricity because we are adopting schemes that require strike prices. Similarly, I cannot understand why Opposition Members and non-governmental organisations will not support fracking, when it is quite clear that if we get rid of our coal-fired power stations and instead use gas that is produced in this country, we can create jobs and cut carbon dioxide emissions. That is surely something that they should support.

I do not want to be a thorn in the side of Ministers. I understand many of the concerns that people are expressing, and I hope that Ministers will put the pertinent questions to the experts. I also hope that they will remember at all times that it is rising tempers about increased energy prices that have caused companies such as Tata to consider closing down in Wales. That is the big cause for concern, rather than rising temperatures, which mankind has coped with quite happily for thousands of years.