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 very strongly with what my hon. Friend says. We must work with all countries around the world. Obviously, most of our overseas work is focused on the poorest countries, but we must ensure that we engage with middle-income countries and all countries to ensure that they play their part, because it is the poorest in the world who will pay the price, and an ounce of carbon does not recognise national borders. We must work on this internationally; that is why I am really proud that we are bidding for the conference of the parties to be held here. We can never stop pushing on this globally to ensure that we are all doing everything that we can.

The scale of the challenge that we have talked about today is immense. Meeting our objectives and delivering the global transition to a low-carbon economy, while ensuring continued global development, will require action from Governments, business and communities. The UK is at the forefront of ambitious action to catalyse that transition. As announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at the G20, we have committed to ensuring that all UK aid spend will be aligned with the Paris agreement. That will mean that every penny we spend on support for developing countries, whether for education, job creation or infrastructure, will be compatible with our shared climate change goals.

We will work collaboratively with partners around the globe, including the multilateral development banks, to develop appropriate and robust methodologies for enabling our aid to align with the objectives of the Paris agreement, and we will encourage others to follow suit. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development has also set out his intention to double the spending in his Department on climate and environment between 2021 and 2025, and to put climate and environment at the centre of our aid strategy.

Government action alone will not be enough; the global transition to a low-carbon economy will require unprecedented investment in green and low-carbon technologies, services and infrastructure. That is why the green finance strategy that we launched on 2 July is such an important step. Building a financial system fit for net zero will mean fundamental changes to the way in which investment decisions are made.

The strategy will position the UK at the forefront of this global transition, catalysing the investment we need to transition to a net zero economy, while strengthening the competitiveness of the UK financial sector and the wider economy, and ensuring that the City of London is the go-to hub for green investment and that we seize the significant opportunities of clean growth for the UK economy. Only once we are shifting the global economy by trillions will we really start to see a gear change in the low-carbon transition. It is critical that we all work together to make this transition. Tackling climate change and pursuing clean growth are critical to continued global prosperity and meeting the sustainable development goals, and for our continued prosperity and security right here in the UK.

As well as challenges, the low-carbon transition will bring huge opportunities—for cleaner air, for conserving the environment, for creating economic opportunities that the UK is well placed to seize. There are almost 400,000 jobs in the UK’s low-carbon sector and supply chains, and it is estimated that the UK low-carbon economy could grow by 11% per year until 2030. I am proud that UK companies such as Lightsource, which is developing solar in India, BBOXX, which is enabling off-grid power in sub-Saharan Africa, and Faro Energy, which is investing in renewables in Brazil, are helping to drive the clean growth transition around the world.