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 agree with most of what my hon. and gallant Friend says. I would just say that we do not have an electric jet engine—yet. Through the industrial strategy, a huge number of programmes are being run through my Department, including the Future Flight Challenge, which is looking at exactly these challenges so that we do not just electrify road transport, but move to lighter-weight and more efficient engines, and eventually on to electric engines flying our passenger aircrafts. Some of that work is running over a long period of time, but between Government and industry we are investing billions of pounds in exactly the kind of challenge he talks about.

We are a world leader in climate policy, green finance, and sustainable services and technologies. Through our climate aid programmes we are sharing our learning and expertise internationally, whether bilaterally or in multilateral forums, building on our pioneering Climate Change Act 2008, net zero legislation and standard-setting power sector reform, helping to build markets for clean growth technology and services worldwide. To give the House an example, in June, my Department hosted delegates from 12 developing countries for a week-long workshop to introduce them to British expertise in offshore wind and see it in action in the Tees Valley. We are now working with the World Bank to support those countries with their plans to develop their own offshore wind projects.

We are building bilateral partnerships to tackle these challenges. For example, the UK recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Colombia, signalling the start of a bold new partnership for sustainable growth. This first-of-its-kind partnership focuses on: clean growth; halting deforestation and environmental crime; preserving biodiversity; and promoting green finance to ensure the private sector can play its part in supporting Colombia’s transformation. About 200,000 square hectares of forest are lost each year in Colombia, putting its diverse ecosystems, indigenous communities and natural resources at risk, as well as driving greenhouse gas emissions. Our programmes address the structural development issues that lead to such deforestation, and in turn reduce carbon emissions.

One of our programmes works to restore degraded land, increase biodiversity and protect standing forests while at the same time increasing agricultural production by 17%, bringing income to the poorest farmers. That is sustainable development in action, benefiting the climate, the environment and people’s livelihoods. Working to mobilise private investment to address the climate challenges is a strong focus of our climate aid, and our innovative, market-driven approach ensures that we meet global climate and sustainable development needs hand in hand.

To give another example, growing demand for soy is driving agricultural expansion and deforestation in Brazil, particularly in the Cerrado savannah region, driving up emissions and causing environmental destruction. During London Climate Action Week, we announced a green bond that will help to prevent land conversion and restore natural habitats, while supporting farmers to grow their businesses. Launched the same week as the green finance strategy, it highlights our commitment to using our green finance expertise to support sustainable development in Brazil and other countries that will be most directly impacted by the effects of climate change.