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Climate Change

Volume 732: debated on Tuesday 2 May 2023

9. What diplomatic steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the UK plays a global leadership role in tackling climate change. (904720)

It has been revealed that the role of the UK special representative for climate change has been scrapped, following the decision not to replace the departing climate envoy, Nick Bridge; that oil and gas licences are being granted in marine protected areas; and that Rosebank oilfield, which would single-handedly exceed the UK carbon budget, may be given the green light. That is not taking climate change seriously. Does the Secretary of State agree that this Government’s actions are destroying our international credibility as a climate champion?

With the greatest respect, I think that the hon. Lady is slightly going over the top on this issue. We are making climate change a key part of all our bilateral relationships. We are building on the legacy of our COP multilaterally, and within the Foreign Office, we have more than 100 staff working full-time on climate change. She should also bear in mind that we were the first major economy to sign net zero emissions by 2050 into law, and that the UK has cuts its emissions faster than any other G7 country.

Last week, the Minister talked about climate as a driver of poverty and hunger. He knows that I agree. Sadly, however, his Government lack the ambition to drive forward a net zero transition and they give succour to climate deniers on their own Benches. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff North (Anna McMorrin) is right that new coal and oil licences are being granted. The odour of hypocrisy hangs over us in Kinshasa and Pretoria and Beijing. Are those Tory internal divisions the reason that our climate leadership is frankly so lacking?

I do not think there are any climate deniers on the Government Benches. I am extremely flattered that it seems that more than one person on the Opposition Front Bench has read my Chatham House speech from last week. I point out to the hon. Lady that the Government have made an unprecedented commitment to spend £11.6 billion by 2025-26. We are focusing an enormous amount of effort on our technical expertise and, although the international community has promised to double adaptation spending by 2025, Britain has promised to triple it.