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My Lords, I am grateful for all the contributions to today’s debate. We should not make the order contentious but we should point out where the Government are falling short. The debate should not disguise that this is a momentous occasion, and I am honoured to be able to approve the order today. The Government are right to adopt Labour’s policy by amending Section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008 to create a more ambitious target. Indeed, it may be the only way to avoid a carbon catastrophe and the horrors that will be realised if the world does not come together to prevent a 1.5-degree temperature rise by 2050.
However, I regret that we are going about this in the wrong way. Net zero emissions by 2050 is an enormous aim, and it needs more than rhetoric to be realised. We need to develop alternative energy sources on a scale never seen before. The Government must urgently commit to a green industrial revolution and a transformation of energy in the UK, harnessing the resources of the state and the private sector to invest in the infrastructure. However, for an issue that will have such enormous ramifications, the Government have not outlined the route ahead. It is only right for Parliament to be given the information to consider such changes in full, and that Parliament must be able to appreciate the necessary implications of all actions.
The Government cannot simply lay this instrument and hope for the best. Challenging times are ahead and the lives of each of us will change. We now need a commitment that the absolute priority is overcoming this existential threat to our planet. Should circumstances change and it becomes apparent that the Government must bring the target forward, we need a guarantee that they will be prepared to do so.
According to the best scientific advice at the moment, the new target of net zero emissions by 2050 is the right path for the UK to avoid the greatest challenge the planet has ever faced. Because of the urgency of the climate challenge, I understand that, in these unusual and exceptional circumstances, no consultation is being undertaken and there is very little information at this stage. However, I wish through this amendment to put the Government on notice that they must come forward with full information on how the UK will fulfil the statutory commitment. I think the House is in unison on this, and I ask it to underline the challenge to the Government by voting for the amendment.
Ayes 155, Noes 116.