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Climate Change

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to strengthen the Department’s institutional capacity in the area of climate change policy; and if she will make a statement. (77164)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has for years been instrumental in driving forward international work on climate change. It has worked with Europe, the G8 and through the UN to raise the political profile of climate change issues, and to generate practical actions to counter it. To boost the FCO’s input into the Government’s climate change agenda, I announced on 8 June 2006 that

“achieving climate security by promoting a faster transition to a sustainable, low carbon global economy”

will be an additional strategic priority for the Department. John Ashton started work for the FCO in the week of 19 June 2006. He will be supported in the first instance by a team of four people.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries she identified as priority countries in the context of the appointment of the special representative for climate change. (77165)

John Ashton, the special representative for climate change, will support Ministers in delivering a step-change in the international response to climate change. His initial view is to engage with major developed and developing countries, including the G8 plus five: China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. He will also look to build close relationships with the rest of the 20 major energy consumers of the future which are involved in the Gleneagles dialogue on climate change, including Australia, Indonesia, Nigeria and South Korea. EU partners will continue to be very important.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what practical steps will be taken by the special representative for climate change to achieve the aims of building a stronger political foundation for international action on climate change, and working to build consensus among key governmental and non-governmental actors in priority countries. (77166)

The special representative will work closely with cross-Whitehall colleagues and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's overseas network. He will engage with major developed and developing countries, including China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, to help drive forward the Gleneagles dialogue on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development, agreed at last year's G8 summit. He will work closely with dialogue partners to encourage them to deploy clean technologies, create incentives for large scale private sector investment, explore a new model for co-operation between developed and developing countries and for action on adapting to the impacts of climate change. He will also engage with many international non-governmental actors, particularly the business community, to listen, probe and explore common ground to build the political foundation needed to support forums like the EU, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, G8 and Gleneagles dialogue and our bilateral relationships.