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Copenhagen Summit

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 21 October 2009

6. What recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the international development aspects of the forthcoming Copenhagen climate change summit; and if he will make a statement. (294274)

The General Affairs and External Relations Council has two sessions each year on development issues. Climate change was a focus of the May meeting, and we will again be looking at climate change in the November meeting, as well as ensuring that we are represented at these meetings. I take numerous opportunities to discuss the road to Copenhagen with my EU counterparts.

I thank the Secretary of State for that reply. Does he agree, however, that it is important that developed countries, including our European counterparts, show sensitivity to the developing world as regards climate change implications from the vantage point of the developed world? Will he therefore stress to them his personal support—and, I hope, that of the Government more widely—for the 10:10 campaign, which will feature in my colleagues’ Liberal Democrat-led debate later today?

The right hon. Gentleman is entirely right in recognising that there needs to be a genuine engagement with the developing countries. That was one of the reasons I recently travelled to India to engage with dialogue there on the issue of climate change. In relation to the 10:10 campaign, I can confirm that my Department has signed up to that campaign; that is a powerful signal of the continuing commitment of several of us to tackle this issue. [Interruption.]

Order. I recognise that Members on both sides of the House are excited about the approach of Prime Minister’s questions, but it is very discourteous for Members to witter away when a question is being asked or an answer is being given. The public do not like it—and, as I have said, neither, frankly, do I.

I welcome the determination expressed by the Secretary of State, but what confidence can he give us that the rights and needs of vulnerable developing countries will be better protected in negotiations on climate change at Copenhagen than they were at the world trade negotiations?

My hon. Friend is right to recognise that there are intertwined challenges of dealing with dangerous climate change and with global poverty. Unless we are successful in Copenhagen in securing a global deal, then dangerous climate change threatens the attempt to make poverty history for millions of our fellow citizens around the world. That is why we have worked so hard to ensure that the voices of the poorest countries, as well as the richest, are heard in Copenhagen this December.