This is one of the greatest challenges we face, and I can assure you that I recognise the importance and urgency of public debate on this issue. Indeed, the threat of global warming has never been more apparent, as highlighted by the sobering conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on global warming of 1.5°C.
However, I am proud of the UK’s world-leading role in tackling climate change and the transition to Clean Growth, with the UK being the first country to legislate to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050, and the fastest in the G20 to cut emissions. Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds, and we are a world-leader in offshore wind.
To continue this momentum, the Government has announced around £2 billion for new policies since setting the Net Zero targets and a new Prime Minister-chaired Cabinet Committee on Climate Change has been set up to ensure all arms of Government are focussed on tackling this challenge. The UK will also continue to use its position as a global leader by hosting the UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in 2020 and will ask international partners to match the UK’s ambition.
At the same time, the ambitious Environment Bill is being introduced to protect and improve the environment for future generations, enshrining in law environmental principles and legally-binding targets.
Ultimately, I am assured that under this Government’s leadership, action will be taken so that future generations will look back on climate change as a problem that was solved with the UK leading from the front, protecting our planet for centuries to come. Getting to net zero by 2050 is tough and expensive, but feasible and consistent with avoiding most damaging climate change. Aiming for zero emissions by 2030 is almost certainly impossible, hugely disruptive and risks undermining consensus.