Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:53 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Conservative, Chelmsford 5:53 pm, 1st May 2019

Of course there is a climate emergency. The science is very clear: we cannot continue pumping more greenhouse gases into the planet’s atmosphere. We need to get to net zero. I was enormously proud yesterday to co-sponsor the net zero carbon Bill of my hon. Friend Alex Chalk.

Yesterday morning, I stood in the control room of National Grid, watching a screen the size of a wall. It was possible to see where all our electricity comes from and where it goes to; the power that has already been generated by those mammoth wind farms in the North sea; the impact of the solar panels as they are lit up; the pumped storage that time-shifts the electricity from one period of time to another; the coal-powered stations that are going down and down and soon will be no more; and, really importantly, those vast interconnectors between ourselves and the continent, which make our own electricity more resilient.

There has been great change in our infrastructure in the past decade, but we need to do more, because even if every home had a solar panel on its roof and every vehicle today was electric, our grid could not cope. The good news is that that change is coming. By 2025, the grid will be able to cope with 100% zero-carbon inputs and every new home in this country will have no fossil fuels to heat it. There is more change coming; I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change.

I hope that the recommendations talk more about how we can enable more energy efficiency to save money as well as carbon, and about how we embrace the transition to electric vehicles, in which we are already leading in the EU. I hope that there is more about how we can continue to support our world-leading crop scientists, and our world-leading work on carbon capture and storage, so that we can continue to heat our homes without using more carbon even on cold, sunless and windless days. I also hope that the recommendations mention how we can support our woodlands and our peat bogs.

Most of all, I hope the Committee on Climate Change embraces and encourages the work that we are doing across the world through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Foreign Office, and our leadership in bringing countries together. I hope that those countries all come to London next year, because it is only by leading across the world that we will win this fight for the climate.