Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:33 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Liz McInnes Liz McInnes Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 6:33 pm, 1st May 2019

We have heard many claims from Government Members about the progress that the Government have made on climate change, but the fact is they have systemically demolished the policies put in place under the Climate Change Act 2008, introduced by a Labour Government, and increased public spending on fossil fuels. We all remember David Cameron’s “Let’s get rid of the green crap” comment. He began the process of comprehensive policy reversal. This was accelerated by the current Prime Minister, who famously, on her second day in office, showed her commitment to tackling climate change by abolishing the Department.

The International Monetary Fund reported in 2015 that the UK had spent £26 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2015, much of that going overseas, since 85% of the UK’s coal demand was being met through imports. In 2015, the UK subsidised fossil fuels to the tune of three to four times what it spent on renewables, contributing in the process to catastrophic global climate change effects.

The Minister for Energy and Clean Growth agrees that action on climate change is necessary. A month ago, however, I asked the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Dr Coffey, about the UK’s woeful performance in relation to the Aichi biodiversity targets. In 2010, we pledged to meet the 20 targets by 2020—next year—but we are on track to meet just five of them. We are falling down particularly on target 20, which relates to the mobilisation of financial resources. Although they signed up to those targets, the Government now describe them as “nebulous”, and are talking about the next set of targets. As one of my constituents said,

“they are ignoring the targets, but looking forward to Britain being ahead in the next set of targets…
Is this parliament or a sketch from the Tracy Ullman show?”