Let me begin by endorsing the idea of a citizens’ assembly on climate change. Such an assembly would present us with a real opportunity to put aside party politics and deliver a real mandate for action on climate change. The Irish citizens’ assembly recently looked into the issue. It faced up to some difficult trade-offs, but the consensus reached by that group of citizens from across Irish society provides a strong public mandate for renewed efforts to tackle climate change. I urge the Government to consider establishing an assembly here in the UK to give citizens a voice in this fight.
Liverpool has set the bold aim of becoming the world’s first climate positive city by the end of 2020. It will seek to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits each year. The city council is working with the Poseidon Foundation to help to offset its carbon emissions by incorporating blockchain technology in the council’s day-to-day operations.
Last summer, the International Development Committee started an inquiry into UK aid for combating climate change, and yesterday we agreed to publish our report next week. Climate change cuts across everything, and the effectiveness of all UK aid spending depends on addressing it. We have been struck by the Government’s incoherent approach, especially in relation to the support given to fossil fuels by UK Export Finance. Global Witness told us that that was leading to circumstances in which
“the UK government is providing climate aid with one hand, and exporting the UK’s fossil fuel pollution with the other, all the while undermining its climate action credentials”.
We need coherence and consistency. It is incumbent on the Government today to respond to the climate emergency in both their domestic and their international policy, so that we can ensure that combating climate change is at the front and centre of everything we do.