In recent weeks much has been said about the issue of climate change, with the vast majority of media coverage claiming a lack of action on politicians’ part and I would like to put on the record the positive progress being made by this Government and this country.
The UK was one of the first countries to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement and the UK is actually decarbonising faster than any other G20 country. Recent figures show that the amount of carbon pollution per person in the UK is now the lowest it has been since the year 1858. We have reduced our emissions by more than 40% from 1990 levels – in that same time we have grown the economy by over 72%. We can only invest in renewable energies when we have a strong economy to support the investment that is needed.
Over Easter weekend we also broke the previous record of the longest continuous period of time without using coal power since before the industrial revolution!
Due to the leadership of this Government our renewable energy capacity has quadrupled since 2010 and we will continue this commitment by investing more than £2.5 billion in low carbon innovation in the coming years. We have also developed the world’s largest offshore wind capacity, leading the world in renewable energy production. Overall, more than half of the UK’s electricity was generated from low-carbon sources last year, the highest share ever.
We can be proud of the UK’s leading role in tackling climate change. There is, of course, much more still to do and I want to be clear that this Government fully recognises the scale and urgency of this issue and is working hard to tackle climate change. Our current target – set out in the statute – is to have cut our emissions by 80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.
However, climate change is too broad a challenge for this Government to tackle alone. This is a global problem to which the solution will be a global commitment, but I am proud of the UK’s leadership on this issue.