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Emissions: Armed Forces

Volume 745: debated on Monday 19 February 2024

The MOD has already started its decarbonisation journey in support of the UK’s net zero commitment. At the Royal International Air Tattoo last year, I was pleased to sign the defence aviation net zero charter on behalf of the MOD. Working closely with our industrial partners, we are moving to cleaner and more efficient technology. The Army is building solar farms, and has invested £14 million in battlefield electrification. The Royal Navy’s cutting-edge catalytic systems are reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in its patrol vessels by up to 97%. Finally, the RAF is pioneering the use of sustainable aviation fuel.

It was a pleasure to attend the Global Charge dinner last October, and to see so many members of the armed forces, from all ranks, committed to tackling the climate crisis. However, the Defence Committee has described the MOD’s current reduction targets as “insufficiently demanding” under the greening government commitments—they are the lowest across all Departments. Will the Minister ensure that the next round of CC commitments will contain more demanding targets, not least to reflect the real ambitions and for members of the armed forces on the ground to see the devastation of climate change?

I know the hon. Lady is very passionate about this issue. I have just listed the ways in which the individual services are taking steps to reduce their emissions, but we always have to balance that against our overwhelming priority as a Department, which is to support the ability of our armed forces to defend these islands.