Climate Justice — [Sir Charles Walker in the Chair.]

Part of Innovation in Hospital Design – in Westminster Hall at 2:44 pm on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Theo Clarke Theo Clarke Conservative, Stafford 2:44 pm, 4th February 2020

The hon. Lady makes a good point. In my constituency, it is hard for someone with an electric vehicle to find a charging point, so I am encouraging the borough council to roll them out across the constituency.

Climate change is a global challenge that affects us all, not just within our national borders in the UK but around the world. It makes us vulnerable to the impact that rising temperatures are having on the weather, food production and water resources. As climate extremes worsen, the world’s poorest countries and communities will be most affected. I agree with some of the points made earlier by the hon. Member for Nottingham East.

I acknowledge the work of UK aid, which has helped more than 47 million people to cope with and adapt to the effects of climate change and natural disasters. I am proud of the Government’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on overseas development assistance. We must ensure that our aid is congruent with the goals of the Paris agreement.

I will give a few examples to show how the Department for International Development makes a real difference on environmental issues. UK aid works with the Met Office to provide communities in developing countries with state-of-the-art weather information. In Uganda, it helps urban planners to identify the impacts of long-term climate change on urban water, sanitation and hygiene systems.

Cutting-edge British research has identified the fact that the Sahel faces three times more mega-storms, some of which are the size of England, than previously. I am proud that British scientists are working with city planners and officials in Burkina Faso to help to decide where hospitals and schools should be built and to protect them from future disasters. UK aid has provided 17 million people with improved access to clean energy, which should be commended and, I hope, continued by the Government.

I encourage the Government to continue to invest in clean green technology, to preserve our natural habitats, and to take measures to improve resilience to climate change. I am pleased that today, the Prime Minister reinforced his commitment to tackle climate change and biodiversity simultaneously, recognising the important role of restoring our natural habitat.

Hosting COP26 will be a major opportunity for the UK and nations across the globe to step up the fight against climate change. Five years on from the Paris agreement, it is a fantastic opportunity to build on our world-leading net zero target and push for international progress to tackle climate change. I am pleased that the Government have set out an ambitious 2050 net zero target. We must also remember that, last year, the UK went coal-free for 18 days, which is a record. The UK has also pledged to phase out unabated coal completely by 2025. We must use COP as a springboard to expand the Powering Past Coal Alliance and to urge others to join us in pledging net zero emissions. There is no greater responsibility than protecting our planet and that mission should be central to the Government.

The UK has a proud record of tackling climate change. We should raise our ambition this year to enable a greener future for all our children. I welcome the fact that today marks the kick-off of a year of climate action, with events taking place in all four nations of the UK. I encourage fellow hon. Members, businesses and charities to participate in the run-up to the upcoming summit in November.