Climate change is not a new concept. For millennia the earth has oscillated through periods of warmth and of cold, but for the first time in Earth’s history natural trends are changing. Unlike in times gone by, however, human beings have their finger on the scale: we have tipped the balance. Our impact on the environment is often hidden, out of sight and out of mind, but international scientists are clearly telling us that our actions have dire consequences—consequences that we are starting to see and feel. Heatwaves, hurricanes, wildfires and flooding are just some of the realities we now face. The positive news is that we know it is happening. We know a key driver of this change is our relentless production of greenhouse gases, so we have to take action to change that and work towards a net zero carbon economy.
I am proud that the UK is leading the way in tackling this issue, and I do think that we are leading the way. Since 1990, we have cut emissions by more than 40%, and we have done so faster than any other G7 nation, all at the same time as our economy has grown by two thirds. Our emissions will continue to fall as we generate more of our power from clean sources, and we are on track to deliver 35% of energy from renewables by 2020-21.