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Climate Change: International Co-operation

Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 24 November 2020

What recent progress the Government have made through international co-operation on tackling climate change. (909153)

As the UK will be the the host of COP26 and the president of the G7 next year, securing greater global ambition on climate change is a diplomatic priority for this Government. Ministerial colleagues in the FCDO and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary regularly raise this subject, and he has raised it with countries, including Japan and South Korea, earlier this year. This strategy is working. China has pledged to become a carbon-neutral country by 2060 and Japan and South Korea have committed to become net zero by 2050. On 7 November, the Prime Minister appointed my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Trevelyan) as the international champion on adaptation and resilience for COP26.

My constituents in Barrow and Furness have welcomed the Government’s focus on renewable energy, but it is clear that a global approach is required to deal with this crisis. Can my right hon. Friend reassure the House that the Department is working flat out on COP26 and the climate ambition summit to make it a success?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that the answer to this lies in global co-operation. The United Kingdom is leading from the front, and we are pressing foreign Governments for greater action and higher commitments at the climate ambition summit on 12 December. Our posts across the globe have engaged with host Governments, businesses and civil society on climate change issues ahead of COP26, and we will continue to do so in the run-up to the climate ambition summit this December.

Climate change is going to drive the future crisis that humanity is facing. Parts of the world will get wetter and parts drier, with all the world more climatically unstable, and with population growth and resource scarcity. Climate change is going to be at the heart of every crisis that we will face.

The UK is undertaking the integrated review of foreign and defence policy right now. I will be grateful for an assurance from the Minister that climate change will be high on the agenda of that review, and that he will take good note of the Scottish National party’s suggestions, which we submitted to the review in good faith. We all need to work together on this, because climate change is a crisis facing humanity as a whole.

The hon. Member is right to highlight the fact that climate change is going to be an important factor in the foreign policy of all countries around the world. We recognise that, in terms of pressure on food production and resources, the potential implications and the conflicts that may come about as a result. That is why climate change and our response to it, development and diplomacy will all go hand in hand through the integrated review.

I am grateful to the Minister for that reassurance. I suggest that he has a read of the SNP submission to the integrated review. There are some very good ideas in there, not least to maintain development at the heart of climate mitigation and to fund it properly. If I were a Minister in a Government who stood on a manifesto in December to maintain 0.7%, I would be considering my position were that to be walked back upon. Is he considering his?

I am very proud of the fact that the United Kingdom is and will remain one of the most generous aid donors in the world. We have focused relentlessly on ensuring that the work of the United Kingdom Government across all Departments focuses on addressing the poorest in the world, as well as the implications of climate change.