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Topical Questions

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 20 April 2022

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was published this month, makes it clear that the window to limit the average global temperature rise to 1.5° is closing alarmingly fast. We need to make faster progress, so the UK continues to urge all Governments, but particularly those in the G20, to honour the promises that were made in the Glasgow climate pact. We are also working to get finance flowing to climate action. Last month, I co-chaired a meeting of G7 Ministers, multilateral development banks and the private sector on the expansion of just energy transition partnerships to support developing nations. Today, I will travel to the World Bank spring meetings to drive that work forward.

What steps is my right hon. Friend taking to ensure that rising international gas prices do not push back up the use of coal?

At COP26, all countries agreed to phase down the use of coal domestically, and we will continue to urge them to deliver on that commitment. As a result of the current energy security and pricing issues, I do believe that we will see an acceleration of renewables and clean energy capacity globally.

T2. To keep the hope of 1.5° alive, 28 billion tonnes of emissions need to be taken out by 2030. What steps is the right hon. Gentleman taking to advance green new deals such as the BioYorkshire project so that they can get on and bring that new technology forward? (906535)

As the hon. Lady will know, the Government are providing a significant amount of investment in new technologies, and, as I referenced in an earlier response, the contracts for difference auction process is one very good way of doing that.

T4. Brazil announced strong environmental commitments at COP26 that exceeded expectations. My own visit to Brazil after COP26 reconfirmed that Brazil is experiencing an economy-wide shift towards lower carbon emissions. Will the COP26 President provide this House with his own observations following his own recent visit, and does he agree that Brazil also has much to offer the rest of the world in terms of renewable energy, especially where ethanol-based technologies are concerned? (906537)

I commend my hon. Friend for his work as the UK’s trade envoy to Brazil; he is doing a brilliant job. During my recent visit, I encouraged the Government to formally submit their 2030 emission-reduction targets of 50% under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and they have done that now. We also discussed Brazil’s plan for a significant expansion of renewables, and I offered to share the UK’s experience on expanding our own offshore wind sector.

T3. This month, a set of floating wind projects under Cerulean Winds, worth a potential £10 billion, was announced alongside a memorandum of understanding with wind turbine manufacturer, Lamprell. Unfortunately, most of the fabrication work for these projects seems destined to be carried out in the United Arab Emirates. Does the Minister agree with me, the GMB union and other manufacturing unions that we must do better in building back better and greener and providing UK-based manufacturing jobs? (906536)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question. Floating offshore wind is a key part of the energy security strategy announced by the Prime Minister last week with a 5 GW target ambition by 2030. On securing and improving the UK supply chain, floating offshore wind is still a relatively nascent technology, but I will make sure that I take the point that he raises to the supply chain taskforce.

T6. As the Foreign Secretary writes her international development strategy, what conversations is the COP26 President having about the importance of international climate finance for the very poorest countries in the world? (906539)

My hon. Friend raises an important point. We need to make sure that we honour the $100 billion pledge, but, as I said earlier, we are also working with countries to ensure that they have funding for clean energy transition, and I am off to the World Bank meetings shortly to take that work forward.

T8. Does my right hon. Friend agree that, in order to achieve net zero by 2050, we need to transition from North sea oil and gas, but very importantly, this is a transition and not an extinction, as many parties opposite are calling for? (906541)

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is vital that we have a North sea transition; that is the purpose of the Government’s North sea transition deal and that is what we are delivering on with the sector. Some Opposition parties want to see an extinction. That would not be in the nation’s interest and would only lead to a rise in imported hydrocarbons, which is also not in our interests at this time.

Does the Minister realise he is guilty of being too nice? We do not just need, “Where’s the plan, Stan?”; we need, “Where’s the money, honey?” Why does he not get into No. 11, shake the Chancellor of the Exchequer until his teeth rattle, and get the money that he should be putting into environmental concerns and saving our planet?

Since March 2021 and through the 2021 Budget and spending review, the Government have committed a total of £30 billion of domestic investment for the green industrial revolution. Not only that, but we are ensuring that many tens of billions of pounds of private investment flows into green transition.

Is extraction of fossil fuels from new oil and gas fields consistent with meeting our climate change commitments during the transition?

As I have said, we want to see a managed transition. That is not going to happen overnight. My right hon. Friend will also know that we have set out in our domestic energy security strategy that future licensing rounds will have to be compatible with the climate compatibility checkpoint, which will be set out shortly.

Before we come to Prime Minister’s questions, I would like to point out that a British Sign Language interpretation of proceedings is available to watch on