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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

I will come on later to some of the points that my hon. Friend has raised, but he has encapsulated them perfectly.

I ask the Minister: will his Government reverse austerity and make the necessary investment? As my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen South and, more recently, my hon. Friend Patrick Grady, have illustrated perfectly, Scotland is a world leader in tackling climate change, with ambitious statutory targets and strong progress to date. We must work together to tackle the issue, and it is most encouraging that all contributors to this debate agree on that. We will support the Minister in any way we can to find a collegiate solution to our requirements in this country.

Scotland has made a leading contribution to the EU-wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Considering that Scotland is the biggest EU oil producer, the second biggest EU gas producer and has about 25% of the EU’s renewables potential, we would of course be extremely well placed to do so were the decision only ours to make.

I agree with the hon. Member for Brent North in criticising this Government’s approach to energy in the UK—their almost complete reliance on the rash dash for gas, fracking and nuclear. While I must applaud the current Prime Minister for pausing to reconsider Hinkley Point C, I condemn her party for the poor decision in the first place.

The Minister touched on the domestic and European processes for ratification, but how difficult is the process? The hon. Member for Southampton, Test, also touched on the process, but what is it? To put it simply, there are two separate processes for the ratification of the agreement: one for the European Union, and one for the UK Government. For the UK, an EU treaty requiring ratification is presented to Parliament as a Command Paper and approved in secondary legislation. A draft Order in Council is laid before Parliament, which may be debated and approved in both Houses under the affirmative procedure. This process seems straightforward enough, so let us get on with it.