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Climate Change

Volume 629: debated on Monday 9 October 2017

The petition of residents of Macclesfield,

Declares that climate changes impacts upon both people and places; further that on the global stage the UK should exercise leadership in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, ensure coordination between government departments in the production and implementation of plans for emissions reduction with particular emphasis on local energy, cutting energy waste in homes and reducing the impact of vehicles on the environment.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Prime Minister to give priority to the urgent issue of global Climate Change.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by David Rutley , Official Report, 19 July 2017; Vol. 627, c. 8P .]


Observations from the Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Claire Perry):

Climate change is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges we face today, and the UK remains committed to demonstrating global leadership in tackling it.

The UK played a leading role in negotiating the Paris Agreement and the Prime Minister, along with other global leaders, has re-affirmed our strong commitment to the Paris Agreement and its swift implementation, as well as our view that the Agreement is irreversible. The Prime Minister has made clear that we believe that the Paris Agreement provides the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future generations, while keeping energy affordable and secure for our citizens and businesses.

The UK has shown global leadership in cutting emissions while growing our economy. We have met the first carbon budget (2008-2012) and we are on track to meet the second (2013- 2017) and third carbon budgets (2018-2022).In delivering these targets, we have led the world in reducing emissions while growing our economy. Since 1990, we have cut emissions by more than 40% while our economy has grown by two thirds. We were recently ranked by the independent Climate Action Network as the third best country in the world for tackling climate change, and PwC's Low Carbon Economy Index shows that the UK has been the fastest of any country in the G20 to decarbonise in 2016.

The UK is well placed to take advantage of the huge economic opportunities of the transition to a low carbon economy. Our early action on clean growth means that we have nurtured a broad range of low carbon industries, including some sectors in which we have world-leading positions. Around 430,000 people are employed in the low carbon sector and its supply chain, and a recent report for the Committee on Climate Change estimated that the UK low carbon economy could grow by an estimated 11% per year between 2015 and 2030—four times faster than the rest of the economy.

Our leadership covers a range of sectors. For example, our financial sector is already a world-leader in green finance. We recently announced a package of measures, including the establishment of a Green Finance Taskforce, to build on our leadership position.

The UK’s International Climate Fund (ICF) is the UK’s primary international instrument to help deliver the Paris Climate Agreement; we are committed to spend at least £5.8 billion between 2016 and 2021 to build renewable energy projects, halt deforestation and increase private investment in low carbon technologies around the world. Over the past five years, the ICF has supported 34 million people to cope with the effects of climate change and improved access to clean energy for 12 million people. The finance has also installed more than 400 MW of clean energy capacity, reduced or avoided 9.2 million tonnes of CO2 and mobilised £2.2 billion public finance and £500 million private finance for climate change purposes in developing countries.

As a part of the ICF, the UK led the way in bringing the international community together to set up the first major global climate funds, the $8.3 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIFs). CIFs have:

Driven low carbon climate resilient development in 73 countries, leveraging $45 billion of co-financing and creating over 9,000 jobs in the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) alone;

Embedded national climate planning in governments across the world;

Shifted Global Finance Architecture and raised global reporting standards.

The UK also leads the world on International Development. In 2015 we were the only G7 country to achieve the UN target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income as Official Development Assistance (ODA). This 0.7% commitment has been enshrined in UK law since 2015—demonstrating the UK’s moral commitment to help the billions of people around the world who live in poverty.

Our Clean Growth Strategy will set out our proposals for decarbonising the UK economy through the 2020s, building on the impressive progress to date.