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A Green Industrial Revolution

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:37 pm on 15th January 2020.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 12:37 pm, 15th January 2020

May I start by congratulating you on the superb way you have taken over the speakership, Mr Speaker? The atmosphere in the Chamber demonstrates the dignity and respect that we all want to see, and I commend you and your Deputies for the leadership you are showing.

Speaking of leadership, I wish Rebecca Long Bailey all the best in her party’s leadership contest. It takes courage to put oneself forward, and I commend her for her service.

Also on leadership, there is one woman—the first ever female Conservative leader—who definitely deserves 10 out of 10: Margaret Thatcher. Just over 30 years ago, she became the very first global leader to warn of the dangers of climate change at the United Nations, saying:

“It is mankind and his activities which are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways.”

She predicted that

“change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto.”

How right she was.

Mr Speaker, you recently called the Australian wildfires

“a wake-up call for the world.”—[Official Report, 7 January 2020;
Vol. 669, c. 235.]

I agree. From wildfires in Australia to flooding in Indonesia and record temperatures across the world, the impacts of climate change are in the here and now. People throughout the UK and around the world are calling for us to act, and we are doing just that. Just as the UK has led the past 30 years of climate action, we will lead the next 30 years, seizing the opportunities of the green industrial revolution.

Since Margaret Thatcher made that speech in November 1989, the UK can be proud of its record of action. Since 1990, we have cut our emissions by 42% while growing our economy by 73%.