Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:24 pm on 1st May 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2:24 pm, 1st May 2019

I begin by thanking the Leader of the Opposition for choosing today’s motion, which provides us all with an opportunity to affirm our commitment to do more to deal with the challenge of climate change and to enhance our degraded environment.

I also begin by sending a message to the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, my right hon. Friend Claire Perry, who, because of unfortunate family circumstances and a close family member’s illness, cannot be here today. I am sure we all want to send her and her family our very best wishes. The Prime Minister cannot be here for this debate, as she very much wanted to be, because she is appearing before the Liaison Committee.

It is important to acknowledge that, across this House and outside it, there are many political figures and political leaders who have played a part in raising awareness of the challenge of climate change and in making it clear that we must do more. I am very happy to associate myself with the Leader of the Opposition’s remarks in thanking Edward Miliband who, as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, was influential at Copenhagen in helping to raise ambitions worldwide. His Climate Change Act 2008, which was supported by both sides of the House, ensured that we as a country had, at the time, the most ambitious approach towards climate change ever.

I also thank Sir Edward Davey. We served together in the coalition Government, in which he was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Although we did not always agree on everything, I put on record my admiration for the way in which he approached all these issues in a balanced, mature and reformist fashion.

Although it is rare that I have good words to say in this House about the Scottish Government overall, I have to say that Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Environment Minister, has shown leadership on this issue. Although we may have our differences, it is only fair to record that Roseanna’s voice has been a strong and powerful one for the environment, as indeed has that of Lesley Griffiths in the Welsh Assembly.

The environment belongs to us all, and the cause of climate change is a fight that unites us. All of us in this House have a common humanity that we need to defend.