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

Part of Innovation in Hospital Design – in Westminster Hall at 3:41 pm on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 3:41 pm, 4th February 2020

We have to get to net zero as soon as possible, but we have to do so in a balanced and proportionate way. To give an example, the oil and gas sector contribution to the Scottish economy is £16.2 billion in gross value added, and some 105,000 jobs in Scotland are dependent on it. It would be slightly hypocritical of us to continue employing so many people in the oil and gas sector in the UK—we see it as part of our energy transition, using gas in particular to decarbonise our economy—if we were to say that other countries around the world could not use gas as a low-carbon alternative to the dirtier fossil that they use, particularly coal. We take a balanced approach on those matters, but I know that there will be disagreement across the House.

I was pleased that in addition to the £6.5 billion-worth of deals that were announced at the UK-Africa investment summit, we announced £1.5 billion of new DFID programmes to support sustainable growth across Africa. We will continue to work in partnership with African countries as part of our broader strategy for Africa, which has seen a significant uplift in our resources on the continent for the first time in decades.

Successfully tackling climate change will require action from the whole of society: Governments, business, communities and each of us in our individual choices. We know that the impacts of climate change will not be borne equally between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations. At the start of her speech, the hon. Member for Nottingham East said that climate justice means

“addressing the climate crisis in a way that is fair and equitable.”

I agree, and that is fundamental to the Government’s approach.

As an international community, we must renew our efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals and fulfil our commitment to leave no one behind. The UK will not only play our part in that domestically, we will provide global leadership, as we invite the world to Glasgow in November to agree on and increase the urgent action that we need to take to protect our planet.