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Covid-19: Green Recovery

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 14 April 2021

What steps the Government are taking to promote climate action and a green recovery from the covid-19 pandemic ahead of COP26. (914039)

What steps the Government are taking to promote climate action and a green recovery from the covid-19 pandemic ahead of COP26. (914040)

The Prime Minister’s 10-point plan sets out our blueprint for a green industrial revolution—a plan to invest in green technologies and industries, leveraging in billions of pounds of private sector investment, supporting up to a quarter of a million green jobs and levelling up across the UK. It is a clear plan to build back greener from the covid pandemic.

The UK’s credibility as COP President rests on demonstrable climate action at home. The Government have set legally binding net zero targets but they are currently off track to meet their fourth and fifth carbon budgets, which are calibrated for previous, more lenient targets. Scrapping the green homes grant two weeks ago puts us into reverse. How will the right hon. Gentleman seek to progress local, national and international progress on energy efficiency and specifically on green homes in the run-up to and during COP26?

The UK has decarbonised its economy faster than any other G20 nation since 2000. We have met carbon budgets CB1 and CB2, we are on track to meet CB3, and of course we are pursuing plans to ensure that we meet CB4 and CB5. Ahead of COP26, we will publish a comprehensive net zero strategy.

The COP President has talked confidently about British leadership, but the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan is full of big words and no real detail. The total impact, by the Government’s own admission, is that they will not meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets. When we pull back the curtain, there is not much to look at, and we are running out of time. He has just said, in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Fleur Anderson), that there will be a net zero strategy. We need it before the summer recess to make the Government’s word credible ahead of COP26. Does he agree with that, and if so, what is he doing about it?

As someone who was partly responsible for preparing the 10-point plan, may I suggest that the hon. Gentleman actually reads the detail of it? I have discussed the sector-specific points in it with individuals in different sectors of industry, who have found it quite compelling. Of course I agree that we need to be doing more, and that is why I have committed to publishing the comprehensive net zero strategy ahead of COP26.

What steps is my right hon. Friend taking, in his extensive discussions with leaders around the world on making progress at COP26, to develop a global standard or taxonomy of climate change impact in financial reporting and in green labelling investment products?

As my right hon. Friend will know, the UK has taken a leading role in climate-related disclosures by implementing a green taxonomy and, very importantly, by making TCFD-aligned disclosures—recommended by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures —mandatory across the economy by 2025. In the conversations that I have with Governments around the world, I am urging other countries to follow a similar approach on financial disclosures. My right hon. Friend talks about asset owners in the financial services sector, and we are also encouraging asset owners and asset managers to make net zero commitments.