Climate Change, the Environment and Global Development

Part of Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 4:43 pm on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee 4:43 pm, 10th July 2019

I very much agree with my hon. Friend, and I would also add the opportunities from onshore wind, which the Government disappointingly continue to block, and from tidal power. The experience of offshore wind is that, after initial Government support and investment, the industry and the energy it produces can become cheaper than those it replaces, which again provides big opportunities for jobs and investment.

Sir David Attenborough gave evidence to the BEIS Committee yesterday. Right at the beginning, he said that the environment around us is essential for every breath we take and everything we eat, as well as for our sanity and our sense of proportion. How we treat our natural environment and what we put into it is incredibly important.

As you can imagine, Madam Deputy Speaker, the BEIS Committee always has huge audiences for every inquiry and every evidence session, but our audience yesterday was particularly large, and the attendance was pretty impressive, too. The audience was also very young.

The Minister said at the beginning of this debate that when he goes into schools in his constituency they often talk about these issues, which is inspiring and gives us all hope for the future. The next generation, who listened to our evidence session yesterday, and the generation after that, who are at Castleton Primary School in Armley and Beecroft Primary School in Burley in my constituency, know what a priority this is, and I hope they will continue to press us to make it our priority in this place, too.

I am proud that this was the first Parliament to pass a climate change Act in 2008, and that the current Parliament has set a target of achieving net zero by 2050 but, as Lord Deben said on the publication of the report of the Committee on Climate Change today, international ambition does not deliver domestic action. That is an important point for us to dwell on. I welcome the bid to host COP 26 next year, and I welcome the fact that we are the first country to legislate for net zero, but we will achieve it in 2050—I hope we achieve it sooner—only if we put policies in place today to make it happen.