Climate change is certainly one of the biggest threats, not just to the environment, but to our economic and global security. I am pleased that the UK is taking a leading role on the world stage, working towards a binding global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change to manageable levels.
2015 is an important year for international negotiations as we work towards securing a global climate deal in Paris in December. In October last year, EU countries agreed a new 2030 energy and climate policy framework that includes a domestic emissions reduction target of at least 40 per cent.
It’s not satisfactory that the dirtiest fossil fuel – coal – is still a major part of our power generation. It is welcome news that the UK will be one of the first developed countries to take coal out of the equation, with the recent announcement that all coal-fired power stations where carbon emissions aren’t being captured and stored will be closed by 2025. The Government will build a new, clean energy infrastructure that is fit for the 21st century.
The Government also set up the International Climate Fund (ICF) to help the world’s poorest adapt to climate change and promote cleaner, greener economic growth. Since 2011, the ICF has provided access to low carbon energy to more than 2.6 million people. The funding for the ICF has recently been raised to £5.8 billion.
The UK works in partnership with developing countries to reduce carbon emissions, help people adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce deforestation. In addition, the UK supports efforts to integrate climate change policies into international development plans. I am confident that these issues will be on the Energy Secretary’s mind at the Paris Climate Change Conference next month.