Environment and Climate Change

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

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

I want to make a little progress. I will take more interventions.

I welcome the opportunity of this debate, and I welcome the support provided by Members on both sides of the House. I make it clear that the Government recognise the situation we face is an emergency. It is a crisis, and it is a threat that we must all unite to meet. The first British politician—in fact, the first world politician—to make it clear that climate change was an emergency was Margaret Thatcher. She was a Conservative and a Christian who believed in the principle of stewardship, but above all she was a scientist who followed the evidence. From Margaret Thatcher at the United Nations to Michael Howard at Rio and the achievements of my right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye at Paris, there has been a green thread of ambition running through Conservative Governments. That is why in assessing what needs to be done, it is important that we take proper account of what has been done. We must acknowledge our mistakes, but we must also recognise achievements across parties.