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

My right hon. Friend makes a good point. It is no coincidence that it was Margaret Thatcher, a scientist and a free-marketeer, who was the first to raise the alarm on climate change, and it is no coincidence that the record of environmental devastation in the eastern bloc when we had command-and-control economies shamed the world.

This is not a party political point; it is merely an observation that the command-and-control economy in Venezuela has not only beggared its own people and made profligate use of hydrocarbons in a way that has led to environmental degradation, but socialism has trumped the environment as a cause, so their contribution to animal welfare has been having to open a zoo to allow people to eat the wild animals. The truth is that the fundamentalist socialism that we have seen in Venezuela and the heedless selfishness exhibited by some other political leaders in other parts of the world are twin dangers. We need to face them down. Whether it is Bolsonaro in Brazil or Maduro in Venezuela, we need to say to those who do not put their people and their environment first, “We’re on your case. Free markets, free individuals and an Earth free of pollution are what people deserve.”