In September, the Prime Minister attended the UN’s General Assembly in New York and paid a visit to the White House to meet with US President Joe Biden. This was a crucial moment for Johnson as according to UN climate scientists, global emissions are set to rise by 16% by 2030.
Climate finance is one of the biggest issues for many developing counties and one that Johnson must lead on. The UK has a duty to help developing countries build resilience and adapt their infrastructure to meet the increasing demands of extreme weather. However, I do not believe this government has the strategic capability nor desire to do this. Whilst President Biden has vowed to double the financial aid given to developing countries vulnerable to the worsening climate crisis, Johnson’s domestic green package is worth an underwhelming £4 billion and he has just cut the foreign aid budget.
All of this means that COP26 will be a critical moment for the world. Johnson must put aside his clownish and laissez faire attitude and become the leader that we desperately need. If not, he will go down as the man who squandered the planet’s best last chance to avert global climate catastrophe.
Here are some of the things I’ve been doing in Parliament since your last newsletter:
Labour Annual Conference
At this year’s Labour Annual Conference, my colleague Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, announced the Climate Investment Pledge – this is our promise that a Labour Government would invest £28 billion per year till 2030 for the Green Transition. We know that not acting now will mean spiralling costs in the future.
Net Zero Emissions and Green Investment
As part of Oral questions to the Treasury on 7th September, I asked the Exchequer Secretary and Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, questions on the impact of the government’s aid budget cut and its leadership role ahead of COP26. I asked the Minister:
What fiscal steps he is taking to help achieve the Government’s net zero emissions target
The recent cuts to the international aid budget have undermined the UK’s leadership in advance of COP26, so what urgent steps will the Treasury take to develop a carbon neutral programme of international aid going forward?
Green investment in the upcoming Autumn Spending Review
Lots of constituents have contacted me about the urgent need for green investment ahead of the autumn spending review.
Last year, the government announced plans to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030. It says it intends to meet this target through domestic action, drawing on policies such as the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which was set out in November 2020.
However, Boris Johnson’s flagship Ten Point Plan is not good enough – its flashy declarations reveal very vague policy and zero innovation. The funding announced in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution is insufficient, with only £4 billion of the £12 billion investment being new money, with the rest being recycled from previous announcements.
We need an ambitious plan that meets the scale of the task we are faced with. That’s why I wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that green investment is at the front and centre of the upcoming spending review and that the government publishes clear and costed details of how the UK will meet its carbon emission targets. You can read my letter here.
Some of my recent Written Parliamentary Questions
- To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to accelerate the conversion of the world fleet of commercial ships to green propulsion. Response here
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, what steps the Government is taking to support (a) low-income and (b) vulnerable families under that plan. Response here
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of the Cambo oilfield in Scotland with the UK’s upcoming role as President of the COP26 summit. Response here
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the environmental impact of the Cambo oilfield in Scotland. Response here
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the IEA report entitled Net Zero by 2050, A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, published in May 2021, what steps he plans to take in response to the recommendation there should be no new investments in oil and gas production fields, coal mines or unabated coal power plants beyond 2021. Response here
- To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department is providing to local authorities to fund and increase the availability of electric charging points. Response here
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to review all tax policy to ensure it does not incentivise oil and gas extraction. Response here
- To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is planning to take to help safeguard the future of forests in (a) Latin America and (b) the Caribbean. Response here
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of the proposal for a central bank digital currency. Response here