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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 Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 1:02 pm, 26th September 2019

I also thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of her statement and welcome her to her position.

The statement focuses on the international situation, but we are in a climate emergency. Although what we do abroad matters, what we do here is even more important. In Scotland, the landmark legislation passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament yesterday. The Scottish Government have responded and now have the toughest statutory target of any country in the world to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030.

Scotland will soon generate 100% of its power from renewable sources. Scotland will be planting 85% of the trees in the UK, and it is pushing ahead on insulation. Scotland has committed to becoming net zero by 2045, five years before the rest of the UK and in line with the advice of the UK Committee on Climate Change, the recommendations of which are contingent on the UK becoming net zero by 2050.

To hit the same target, UK policies will therefore need to be ramped up significantly. The UK falls short on home and business energy efficiency and it is way behind on carbon capture, utilisation and storage. Decarbonisation of the gas grid must be accelerated, and it must flatten the pedal on vehicle and tax incentives to promote low-carbon choices. VAT must be reduced on energy-efficiency improvements.

The UK Government must remove their ideological opposition to renewable onshore wind and stop holding back solar power. The Secretary of State is new in post, so will she therefore commit to presenting a clear plan and target to address these issues?

Finally, buried among other news yesterday was the revelation that the cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, already the most expensive development on this planet, will rise by nearly £3 billion. The UK Government should not be pouring money down this bottomless pit of new nuclear when onshore wind, for example, is now less than half as expensive for consumers—