Climate Change

Part of Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 3) Bill [Lords] (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 5:43 pm on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education) 5:43 pm, 24th June 2019

The Committee on Climate Change has told us quite clearly that ending the UK’s contribution to global warming is now within reach. It has advised that a net zero emissions target is necessary, because climate change is the single most important issue facing us; that it is feasible, because we can get there using technologies and approaches that exist, enabling us to continue to grow our economy and to maintain and improve our quality of life; and that it is affordable, because it can be achieved at a cost equivalent of 1% to 2% of GDP in 2050. As I have said, owing to falling costs, that is the same cost envelope that this Parliament accepted for an 80% target. That is before taking into account the many benefits for households and businesses—from improved air quality, to new green-collar jobs. I applaud the committee for the quality, breadth and analytical rigour of its advice.

Recent months and weeks have been a time of huge and growing interest in how we tackle the defining challenge of climate change. Calls for action have come from all generations and all parts of society—from Greta Thunberg to David Attenborough, from schoolchildren to women’s institutes. My message today is, “As a Parliament we hear you, and we are taking action.”

This country has long been a leader in tackling climate change. Thirty years ago, Mrs Thatcher was the first global leader to acknowledge at the United Nations

“what may be early signs of man-induced climatic change.”

Eleven years ago, this House passed the ground-breaking Climate Change Act, the first legislation in the world to set legally binding, long-term targets for reducing emissions. The Act, passed with strong cross-party support, created a vital precedent on climate: listen to the science, focus on the evidence, and pursue deliverable solutions.

Today we can make history again, as the first major economy in the world to commit to ending our contribution to global warming forever. I ask Members on both sides of the House to come together today in the same spirit and to support this draft legislation, which I commend to the House.