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Climate Change - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:36 pm on 6th February 2020.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Ladyton Lord Browne of Ladyton Labour 5:36 pm, 6th February 2020

My Lords, I knew when I secured this debate that it would be a good one. It is a privilege to be a Member of this House, where so many noble Lords know so much and are so willing to share that knowledge. It has been a pleasure to listen to so many interesting and informative speeches and I have learned from them. In thanking all noble Lords who have contributed, including the Minister, whom I will come back to in a moment, I hope they will forgive me if I do not engage with individual points; I intend to reflect on the debate.

At the outset, I said that I hoped to generate a debate. I will be true to that. I have the benefit in UK FIRES of some of the best minds in the country to reflect on what was said and to advise me. To some degree, because of reactions that I would not have had otherwise to the debate, they can fact-check some of the things that have been said. I will respond in detail and encourage UK FIRES to publish that on its website. It has an open-portal website that invites conversations. If I cannot persuade Parliament to open such portals, I will continue this debate in that way, if noble Lords will permit me, and they can engage further.

I thank the Minister, who did not let me down. He made a spirited defence of techno-optimism. He gave us comprehensive lists, which he will be held to, of the Government’s aspirations—the things they will do and the challenges that, if not met, will have bad consequences that will have to be engaged with. I will do my best to keep him to them and he will thank me for it.

I will try to encourage the scientists to have a wee bit more political sensitivity. It is important that they have a bit of political sensitivity, but I shall say, “Everything that I want you to do, I want you to do against the standard that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Oxford has challenged his diocesan parishioners with.” I will ask them not to worry about us and not to worry about the difficulties that other people will have in living up to what they need to do. I will ask them just to place care for the earth at the top of their agenda.

Motion agreed.