Climate Change, the Environment and Global Development

Part of Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 3:19 pm on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 3:19 pm, 10th July 2019

I am going to make some progress. I am about one minute into my speech, and I have already given way to the hon. Lady.

The International Development Committee described the impacts of climate change as “nightmarish,” and it talked about increasing drought, flooding, displacement, hunger and disease, potentially reversing the hard-won development progress we have seen over the past few decades.

The International Development Committee’s inquiry on UK aid for combating climate change, published in April, found that

“it will be the least developed countries and the most vulnerable people who will be hit the first and the hardest by climate change…Climate change cuts across everything. The effectiveness of all UK aid spending is dependent on whether the international community rapidly and effectively combats the causes and impacts of climate change.”

As the scale of the challenge becomes ever clearer, we see a tipping point in public awareness and engagement.

I doubt any hon. Member here today does not have schools in their constituency that are going above and beyond in learning about the environment. I recently visited St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Barnoldswick, in my constituency, to present it with an Eco-Schools green flag award.

We have also seen children at schools around the world going on strike to call for urgent climate action. We have seen the success of London Climate Action Week, with 150 events showcasing a wide spectrum of climate action and solutions, and we have witnessed the strength of cross-party support for our bid to host COP 26 next year and for the UK leading the way with our net zero target.

There are many challenges ahead. We know we need to do more, and we do not have all the answers yet, but we should be proud of the UK’s ambition and leadership to date on climate change. We have led the world in delivering clean growth, showing that action on climate change can be a win-win for the environment, for the economy and for quality of life.