WE have all seen the recent environmental demonstrations across the country recently, and as highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate, the threat of global warming has never been more apparent.
However, I am encouraged that we are also now witnessing momentum towards a more ambitious global response, most recently demonstrated by agreement on a ‘rulebook’ for the Paris Agreement late last year. I am also proud of what has already been done by successive governments to ensure the UK’s plays a world-leading role in tackling climate change.
The UK was the first country to introduce legally binding long-term emissions targets under the landmark Climate Change Act in 2008. Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds, the best performance on a per person basis than any other G7 nation, making our a country a world innovator in Clean Growth.
To continue this momentum, the government published the Clean Growth Strategy in 2017, setting out its plans for meeting the UK’s carbon targets and the ambition to legislate for a net zero emissions target. This has been boosted by significant innovation funding made available through the Industrial Strategy.
At the same time, the 25 Year Environment Plan outlines the Government’s commitment to supporting and protecting the world’s most biodiverse forests, supporting sustainable agriculture and enhancing sustainability, and supporting zero-deforestation supply chains.
That said, we must do more, and the government will do more, which is why it asked the Committee on Climate Change to advise on how and when we could achieve net zero. Their report published on the 2nd May sets out a path for the UK to become the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely.
I am proud of the government’s record on addressing climate change. The UK has played a leading role as the world has worked towards a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Paris Agreement, and we will continue to lead the way.