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Topical Questions

Volume 709: debated on Wednesday 2 March 2022

Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is at the forefront of all our minds, as are the brave and courageous people of Ukraine, who are having to defend themselves from the despicable onslaught of Putin’s forces. Supporting and standing with Ukraine is rightly our most immediate priority, but as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report earlier this week highlighted, the chronic threat of climate change has not gone away. That is why we need to redouble our efforts to ensure that countries deliver on their commitments set out in the Glasgow climate pact.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the path to net zero not only creates clean, green energy but makes us energy resilient, which will further reduce our need for imported oil and gas?

My hon. Friend is entirely right, and I can tell her that when I speak to Governments around the world, they see the UK as a leader in the clean energy transition. On my recent visit to Vietnam, for instance, they were particularly keen to understand the revenue mechanisms we have put in place to ensure more private sector investment in our offshore wind sector.

T3. What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that the voices of environmental and human rights defenders are heard in the COP process, and that their safety and security are protected worldwide? (905830)

At COP26 and in the lead-up to it, we ensured that the voices of civil society and youth were heard, and I am sure that is something that all future COPs will want to ensure too.

T2. The energy security of Europe will clearly be central to the security of us all. I commend the COP President for his tireless work to promote the growth of renewable energies across Europe. Will he update the House on his plans to press ahead with the nuclear agenda in particular, with our allies in Europe? (905829)

Thankfully, the UK is not reliant on Russian oil and gas because we have invested significantly in renewables, and we will continue to do so. However, my hon. Friend makes an important point. Every country needs to think about a managed clean energy transition and security of supply.

T4. The next generation of jobs and apprenticeships is going to be delivered in the industries that the COP President talks about. Would he praise those employers reaching out to young people at my apprenticeships fair just a few weeks ago in Consett for all the work that they are doing to deliver great jobs in these high-tech sectors for the next generation? (905831)

Employers in the private sector are going to be vital to the transition to net zero. I commend all the employers who attended my hon. Friend’s apprenticeships fair and indeed employers across the country for everything they are doing to ensure a clean transition by 2050 in our country.

T5.   Many countries will be considering how they can reduce their dependence on Russia for energy supplies. Will my right hon. Friend use his presidency to help other countries to ensure that they can diversify their supplies and use renewable energy with British assistance? (905832)

Yes; my right hon. Friend makes a really important point. We are working with developed country partners to see how we can support other nations to make that transition to clean energy and to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

Does the President recognise that consideration for biodiversity loss needs to be given parity in the Government’s plans for environmental protection, alongside their existing plans for delivering net zero?

As the hon. Lady will know, we had a big focus on nature at COP26 and we had a commitment from over 140 countries representing over 90% of forests around the world to ensure that they are protected. We will of course continue to work on this issue with partners around the world.

Before we come to PMQs, I wish to remind Members of what I said last week. I want concise, focused questions so that we can get through the list, and I want much less barracking and heckling of Members. That behaviour is discourteous and does nothing to enhance the representation of our House, or its ability to scrutinise the Prime Minister. I expect Members to reference one another in a courteous and orderly fashion.

Finally, I want to welcome to our Gallery the Ukrainian ambassador—[Applause.] Your Excellency, we generally do not allow applause in this Chamber, but on this occasion the House quite rightly wants to demonstrate our respect and support for your country and its people in the most difficult of times.

Before we start, I would like to point out that the British Sign Language interpretation of proceedings is available to watch on