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Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:55 pm on 7th September 2016.

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Photo of Phil Boswell Phil Boswell Scottish National Party, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill 4:55 pm, 7th September 2016

We in the SNP find ourselves in full agreement with Barry Gardiner, who was both comprehensive and passionate; he and my hon. Friend Callum McCaig, who is no longer in his place, are quite right to be so, given the critical nature of this issue.

Confidence in the UK Government’s commitment to tackling climate change is on the wane. They have rolled back almost every green policy, and in the previous Prime Minister’s strong language on the subject lies the truth of it. The rolling back of policies that supported energy investment and domestic energy efficiency is more than disappointing; it is irresponsible.

The Minister spoke of how business was very much behind him. I can forgive him for that misapprehension, because he is new to the job—I sincerely wish him all the very best in his new role—but for quite some time, investment in the UK, particularly in energy, has been undermined by the almost continuous moving of the legislative goalposts by the Government. Backtracking on issues such as privatisation of the Green Investment Bank, the withdrawal of the renewables obligation element for onshore wind and the cut to solar subsidies have been well covered in the House, particularly by Dr Whitehead, who provided us with a comprehensive list; it does, indeed, go on.

The aforementioned reversals and the withdrawal by the UK Government of the £1 billion carbon capture and storage competition with no prior warning has left a hugely damaging legacy for investment incentive and consumer confidence in the UK. On the plus side, I am delighted to say that the carbon capture and storage advisory group will report its findings this coming Monday, 12 September, as requested by the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The CCS report is a cross-party, pragmatic solution that includes industry, academia and parliamentarian input from both Houses, and I urge the Government to implement its good-value recommendations, which are fully supported by Peter Aldous.

The recent Brexit vote should not become a flippant reference. This is the UK leaving the European Union—the biggest single market in the world. It is a frightening prospect, hence why many Brexiteers have simply run away. They are like the proverbial dog that has finally caught the bus that it was chasing and now has no idea what to do with it; in fact, they cannot even define Brexit. This grave uncertainty has plunged the UK’s energy sector into yet further uncertainty. As such, the SNP calls on the UK Government to halt their damaging programme of austerity and inject the economy with the investment necessary to stimulate growth and create a healthy environment for investors and consumers alike.