Climate Change, the Environment and Global Development

Part of Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative, Stirling 4:58 pm, 10th July 2019

That was a good intervention from my hon. Friend, and I do have a lot of those concerns. For example, I have concerns about the status of the SMETS 2 meter installation, particularly in Scotland and the north of the country. There are technological reasons why the pace there is slower than in the rest of the United Kingdom. I am also concerned about where we are in general with SMETS 2 meter installation. And what about SMETS 1 meters? How are we getting on with having Smart DCC adopt them? The answers to those questions might be difficult for Ministers to bring to the House, because there is no shortage of challenges relating to smart meter roll-out, but we really should face up to those challenges. We have an opportunity now to properly review where we have got to. A fundamental question is how many SMETS 1 meters that have been installed will need to be replaced because they cannot be adopted by DCC. I hope the Government will make note of the need to update us on this, whether in a written statement or by some other means.

The generation of energy is important. I have already mentioned that no technologies should be off the table and that we should consider all possibilities. One of the final points I wish to make is about carbon capture and storage. A point that was made about carbon capture and storage in our Select Committee report was that there is need for a collaborative—[Interruption.] I am getting the signal, and I will conclude, Madam Deputy Speaker. Carbon capture and storage. Yes, this is very interesting point, or it is to me anyway. We have the opportunity of a first mover advantage, and we need to start removing carbon from the atmosphere. Otherwise, there is no hope of our becoming a net zero emitter by 2050. We should be prepared to take bold initiatives and risks with the roll-out of the technology. Finally, we need to plant more trees. They are nature’s carbon capture and storage specialists, and the current targets in England are frankly modest to the point of embarrassing and really not appropriate to a net zero target. Because of the rich offering of devolution in our wonderful Union, there are lessons to be offered to the UK Government from Scotland, which I hope they will be wise and examine closely.

In closing, I shall return to Sir David Attenborough’s evidence. We must remain hopeful. The challenges we are facing and discussing today are surmountable. We must play to our strengths as a nation. We need joined-up government across these islands—the United Kingdom at its best, working in partnership with our world-class university sector and the broadest possible coalition of industries and business interests. Our global reputation as inventors, creators, innovators and renovators must now be put to the ultimate test. We must find new ways to leverage old technologies, and we need to be bold and take risks with new technologies as never before. Then, we must take those solutions and our expertise to the wider world, where the UK can properly take its responsibilities as the leading developed nation in the arena to the next level. With proper investment, the new businesses that will grow and develop from this economic revolution will provide the quality of work and the valuable employment of the future. If we are wise enough, if we are honest enough, if we are brave enough, the opportunities may be limitless, and we will be able to sustain our planet—our blue planet, teeming with life—for generations to come.