How Britain will lead by example to save planet – Anne-Marie Trevelyan

WHILE we find ourselves in the midst of this very difficult pandemic, which of course is our short-term priority, we must not abandon our planet’s need for urgent care because we risk so many further crises for our children.

Climate change is happening now, and this Government is determined that the UK will be a world leader in ensuring that the Paris agreement takes root across the globe. We will demonstrate through our commitment to bring down our country’s greenhouse gas emissions, and acting this year as the president of COP, that we will be a global leader.

The Prime Minister has made a critical commitment to doubling our international climate finance to £11.6bn, with £3bn of that going to nature-based solutions. We were the first major economy in the world to set a legally binding target to reach net zero carbon emissions across our economy by 2050, and we have shown that rapid progress on decarbonisation is possible alongside a thriving economy.

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Our emissions are down by almost 44 per cent across the last 30 years, and our economy has grown by 78 per cent in the same period. We have been absolute in our commitment to power past coal over the last 10 years, with a reduction in electricity generation from coal from 40 per cent in 2012 to less than five per cent today, replaced by renewables.

Boris Johnson (L) and British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough speak during the launch of the UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Summit.

We have made significant progress in meeting our climate targets, meeting our first two carbon budgets and projected to meet the third by 2022. We exceeded the required emissions reduction of the first by 1.2 per cent and the second by nearly 14 per cent, but now is the time to double down and decrease our emissions further and faster.

To do this, the Prime Minister set out his 10-point plan last year to lead the world into a new green industrial revolution. We set out ambitious policies, backed by £12bn of Government investment. The plan will support up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs across the UK and accelerate our path to reaching net zero by 2050 while laying the foundations for building back greener.

We will develop the cutting-edge technologies needed to drive down those emissions in industries across the UK through significant investment in hydrogen, new nuclear and carbon capture technologies. The 10-point plan will go further.

We are backing our world-leading automotive sector, with a £2.8bn package to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and transform our national infrastructure better to support that electric vehicle revolution. Working with industry, we will drive the growth of low-carbon hydrogen. As part of the 10-point plan, we are aiming for 5 GW of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030. That will see the UK benefit from around 8,000 jobs across our industrial heartlands and beyond.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. She spoke in a Commons debate on the climate emergency.

Throughout the UK, more than 2.5 million highly skilled people employed in manufacturing make a huge contribution to the wealth and character of their communities. Our lifetime skills guarantee will ensure that people are equipped with the skills they need to adapt to the new products and services that we want them to provide.

This year, we find ourselves in the privileged position of being the president of the G7 and of hosting and holding the presidency of COP26. We are determined to use these key international events to promote ambitious action to deliver the transformational change required by the Paris agreement.

I have the extraordinary honour of being not only the Minister for Energy but the international champion for COP26 for adaptation and resilience. One of the critical challenges that we have as a global leader is not only to ensure that we walk the walk in demonstrating our decarbonisation in the UK, but to help those developing countries that need to be able to grow and support their communities in a green way, building back better after the traumas that Covid has caused to so many of the very poorest developing countries.

We will bring forward our own bold proposals, including our net zero strategy, in the run-up to COP26 to demonstrate that we will be cutting those emissions, creating jobs and bolstering those new industries across our country to lead on that global stage. We will deliver on our commitment to net zero and that protecting our planet for our children, and for theirs in the future, is something on which we can deliver.

Britain has ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions, say Ministers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. She spoke in a Commons debate on the climate emergency – this is an edited version.

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