RE: Tackling Climate Change
In recent days I have received a lot of correspondence regarding this Government’s plan to tackle the challenges faced by climate change.
I am clear climate change poses many issues and challenges that we must all commit to dealing with. It is on this generation to ensure we leave the planet in much better state than we found it for future generations to be able to enjoy.
Over the last nine years the Conservatives in Government have made great strides in tackling the impact of climate change and building an international coalition of countries to address these challenges. Our commitment to the natural environment and protecting endangered species is clear. Since the Conservatives came into office in 2010,
- We have reduced emissions by 25%. Last year was the cleanest and greenest year on record, with low-carbon sources making up more than half of our electricity.
- We have put clean growth at the heart of our economy, so we can achieve both a growing economy and a modern Industrial Strategy while at the same time ensuring Britain retains a leading role in efforts to tackle climate change.
- We have reduced our coal dependency from 40% in 2012 to less than 2%. As a result, in 2017 we had the first full day that the UK has not used coal for 135 years, and last month we went a full two weeks without using coal for power generation.
- Through our modern Industrial Strategy we’re investing in clean growth to create two million high quality jobs by 2030. 400,000 people are already employed in the low-carbon sector and its supply chains across the country, helping make Britain a leading country in combating climate change.
In our Party Manifesto we committed to go further than before on protecting the environment with commitments in the forthcoming Environment Bill to:
- Set up a new independent Office For Environmental Protection and introduce our own legal targets, including for air quality.
- Invest in nature, helping us to reach our Net Zero target with a £640 million new Nature for Climate fund. Building on our support for creating a Great Northumberland Forest, we will reach an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament, as well as restoring our peatland.
- Create new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as making our most loved landscapes greener, happier, healthier and open to all. We will make the coast to coast path across the most beautiful areas of the North a National Trail.
- Lead the world in tackling plastics pollution, both in the UK and internationally, and will introduce a new levy to increase the proportion of recyclable plastics in packaging. We will introduce extended producer responsibility, so that producers pay the full costs of dealing with the waste they produce, and boost domestic recycling. We will ban the export
of plastic waste to non-OECD countries, consulting with industry, NGOs and local councils on the date by which this should be achieved.
- Crack down on the waste and carelessness that destroys our natural environment and kills marine life. We will increase penalties for fly-tipping, make those on community sentences clean up their parks and streets, and introduce a deposit return scheme to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass.
All of these commitments will help us as a country to meet our ambition of going carbon-neutral by 2050.
I’m sure everyone would agree that there is much more to do, but under the Conservatives we have already made great progress and have plans now to go much further. I will work with my colleagues in Parliament to ensure we do all we can to enhance our natural environment and protect endangered species.