International Climate Action

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:02 pm on 26th September 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 1:02 pm, 26th September 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman. He and I worked together on energy matters some years ago and I welcome his willingness to work cross party on the issue, about which I know he cares a great deal and on which he is extremely knowledgeable. I also pay tribute to Edward Miliband for his excellent efforts on the Climate Change Act 2008, from which so much of the UK’s ambition in this space derives. I encourage Barry Gardiner to work cross-party. I will be delighted to meet him and his colleagues to discuss how we can take the matter forward in a shared endeavour to tackle global climate change.

The hon. Gentleman asked some specific questions. I will try to answer them all, but if I cannot or if I miss some, I would be delighted to meet and tackle them further. He is right that the recent IPCC report provides the best available science on the wide range of impacts of climate change on the ocean and the cryosphere, and outlines potential measures for building resilience to those impacts. The Government welcome the report. We are very concerned about the impact of climate change on the oceans. Of course, as island nations, the United Kingdom, its overseas territories, our Commonwealth partners and close friends are especially dependent on a healthy and sustainably managed ocean, so we will be looking carefully at those recommendations.

The hon. Gentleman is right to ask about the tougher NDCs not being met at the climate summit, and he will be aware that those targets are supposed to be raised by February 2020. The UK is committed to doing that and we will, of course, be urging all others to raise their NDCs by next February.

On the Ayrton fund and its use for scientific work, the Government’s recently published green finance strategy committed to aligning all UK overseas development aid with the Paris agreement so that all our development finance is consistent with climate-resilient and low greenhouse gas development pathways. Such aid is, of course, essential because so much of the problem for vulnerable communities overseas is related to climate change, so those things are inextricably linked. Again, I am happy to speak to the hon. Gentleman more about that.

On grants versus loans, they will almost all be grants. Again, we can speak further about that.

On fossil fuel export finance, as the hon. Gentleman will know, the Committee on Climate Change has made it clear that, actually, achieving net zero requires a transition through lower-carbon fossil fuels, and I point again to the fact that, in just the past six years, we have gone from a 40% reliance on coal—the dirtiest fossil fuel—to only a 5% reliance today, which is quite an achievement. There is much more to be done, but we recognise there will be an ongoing need to use fossil fuels during the transition period.

On staffing resources for COP 26, the hon. Gentleman will be aware that the president is a prime ministerial appointment. I will be working closely with my right hon. Friend Claire Perry, the COP president, to make sure that all the parliamentary updates will be made available on time. I will also be working closely cross-party. The UK has a huge ambition to decarbonise and to retain our global leadership in tackling global climate change.