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Green Economy - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:16 pm on 12th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Parminter Baroness Parminter Liberal Democrat 6:16 pm, 12th March 2020

I thank the Minister for his response and all noble Lords who have contributed so ably. Like the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, I particularly thank the noble Earl, Lord Selbourne, for contributing, given his imminent retirement from this House. He exemplifies to me everything that is best about this place: he speaks with expertise and has a true zest for life. In a previous debate, he told us about when he was in a Forestry Commission venue near us, in Alice Holt—of course, why would he not be? He then said that he was abseiling down the facilities there; I thought that at his relative age that was just the sort of thing that one should be encouraging. So, many thanks in particular to him.

As the noble Lord, Lord Browne of Ladyton, said, this is a topic with a very wide waterfront. I am not going to try to sum up all the issues that noble Lords have contributed, but it seems to me that there has been a real agreement about the way ahead; the only area where there are differences seems to be around CCS. I have to share the more pessimistic views of some of my colleagues in the House. People know the way ahead; the question is, are the Government getting there quickly enough?

I want to make two points. We have had a number of contributions from noble Lords about not just what the Government need to do but how we can encourage individual behavioural change. Whether we go down the route of nudging—I am not sure that all members of the public will have the self-restraint of the noble Baroness, Lady Jenkin—or take a more directive approach, as we are seeing in response to the Covid-19 emergency, where we are rightly listening to experts and then the Government are taking bold measures, I know which route I would prefer as we tackle this climate emergency.

The Government are going to have to face this pretty soon, because Henry Dimbleby’s report on his food strategy is coming soon. This will address the issue of food waste and what to do about the nation’s diet. The Government need to start thinking seriously about how they want to lead our country as we tackle these great climate and nature emergencies, and how they want to lead from the front.

I also want to highlight an issue raised by many noble Lords: what we do in this country relates to the global context, and what we do here in the UK is important in shaping progress for the whole world. Again, this reinforces the need for urgent action, not only before COP 26 but before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June. If we are really going to be a global leader on this, the Government have to start acting quickly to show global leadership; only that way can we tackle both the climate emergency and the nature emergency that we face.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 6.18 pm.