Climate Change

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face, and I can assure you that I recognise the importance and urgency of action on this issue. While we need continued public debate on this issue, I can assure you that significant action is being taken.
The recent report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the world is warming faster than previously anticipated and climate change is already affecting every single region of our planet. This stark report must be met with immediate global action to limit warming, heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and loss of Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.

I am pleased that the UK, which is continuing to play a world-leading role in tackling climate change, was the first G7 country to legislate to achieve net zero by 2050, and we are decarbonising faster than any G20 country. In addition, we have set ambitious climate targets in law, such as a commitment to reduce emissions by 68 per cent by 2030, and also to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, both compared to 1990 levels. 
This does not come at the expense of economic growth. The UK has grown its economy by 75 per cent while cutting emissions by 43 per cent since 1990.

The UK accounts for approximately 1.2 per cent of global emissions and the Government and COP26 Presidency is working to ensure other countries, particularly other G20 countries which account together for 80 per cent of global emissions, to urgently submit new or updated 2030 targets (Nationally Determined Contributions) with their plans for ambitious climate action ahead of the vital COP26 summit later this year in Glasgow. 

Ultimately, I am assured that under this Government’s leadership, action will be taken so that future generations will look back on climate change as a problem that was solved with the UK leading from the front, protecting our planet for centuries to come.

Getting to net zero by 2050 is feasible and consistent with avoiding most damaging climate change. Aiming for zero emissions by 2030 is almost certainly impossible,  disruptive, not required by the science, economically unfeasible and risks undermining consensus. 

To continue momentum, the Prime Minister established the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change to ensure all arms of Government are focussed on tackling this challenge. 

The 2021 Budget also reinforced the UK’s strong track record in this area, with announcements including £640 million for tree planting and peatland restoration, over £1 billion to support the transition to electric vehicles, at least doubling funding for energy innovation, and tax measures to reduce plastic waste, among other measures. The Chancellor also announced £15 billion of green gilt issuance to help support vital projects to tackle climate change, to fund critical infrastructure investment, and create green jobs across the UK.

In addition, the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan lays the blueprint for how we will achieve net zero.  The plan will mobilise £12 billion of Government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030. Included in the plan is £160 million investment into offshore wind which will create 60,000 jobs, a commitment to produce enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much the UK produces to 40GW by 2030.

At the same time, the Environment Bill has been introduced to protect and improve the environment for future generations, enshrining in law environmental principles and legally-binding targets. 

I am looking forward to COP26 as it provides an opportunity to drive the world to tackle climate change.

As we get closer to the summit, the Prime Minister has been clear that other countries should follow the UK's lead in tackling climate change, putting forward big commitments and plans including a commitment to net zero by mid-century. In particular, G20 countries should make new Nationally Determined Contributions - setting out interim targets and immediate action to reduce emissions. I welcome that the UK is seeking to gather support and agreement at the conference to eliminate coal dependency; to follow the UK in abandoning UK fossil fuel internal combustion vehicles; for the richest countries who have historically produced so much of the world's carbon to support other countries to go green with funds of $100 billion a year; and finally to plant more trees to restore the world's natural habitat. 

Closer to home, across Meon Valley, there are initiatives for you to get involved in with Green Week having just happened, where events were held across the county, as well as other activities happening in the lead up to COP26. You can find updates on my website here: 

The next decade will be decisive and every country, government, business and citizen must come together to tackle this huge threat to our planet and humanity.