Sir Patrick Vallance Climate Briefing

Climate change is such an important issue, and during my period as Leader of the Opposition I made history by getting a motion passed in the Commons declaring an “environment and climate change emergency”;  the world’s first parliament to do so.

I would like to have had the opportunity of driving through our real Green New Deal from that period, designed as it was to avert climate catastrophe.

It is crucial to keep up with the latest information about climate change and we have reasonable access to this in parliament, however the timing isn’t always ideal.  I now have the link to that briefing and will make the most of it.

There is so much more we can do, and the direction in which the Government is taking us will not help, AND there has been minimal reference to the subject during the current leadership debates.

The campaign against the North London Waste Authority incinerator expansion has my full support because I believe the priority should be to cut back on waste, and not to spend more money on larger incinerators to deal with it, and all of the many drawbacks to that project.

I’ve signed many parliamentary motions on climate change as well as cross party letters, including a recent one to the Prime Minister entitled “It’s time to unlock onshore wind to support climate targets, businesses and bill-payers.”

I also continue to speak on the subject in parliament and elsewhere, including:

On July 18th, in a statement on “Extreme Heat Preparedness” I asked the Minister:
I thank the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) for securing this important question. It must be very obvious that in this age of extremes—extreme heat, extreme cold and flooding—our infrastructure is simply not capable of dealing with it and that we have not really followed through on the commitments we have given at successive COP events. Will the Minister commit to the Government taking a long, hard look at all the decisions taken at COP that we have or have not followed and all our infrastructure requirements that need to be changed, so that we have effective public services that are properly funded and properly staffed in order to deal with these kinds of extremes? They are not one-offs. They will come more and more often as the years go on and we have to be ready for them.

On July 14th I intervened in a debate “Protecting and Restoring Nature: Cop15 and beyond”:
Has the Minister had a chance to look at the comments made yesterday by Emma Howard Boyd, the chair of the Environment Agency, concerning the behaviour of water companies and the pollution in rivers, and her recommendation that instead of fining the chairs of the water companies that grievously pollute our rivers, consideration ought to be given to putting those people in jail for the damage they are doing to our environment? Is he going to respond directly to the Environment Agency and wish it well in that endeavour?

I absolutely agree that there has to be a measurement of the effect on the natural world and the environment, measurements of human inequality and all the normal GDP measurements. Would it not be better if the UK Government set an aim to come away from the next round of discussions with an agreed position on how we will measure the effect on the natural world of economic activity as part of the whole measurement of GDP? In that way, it would be factored in and give a legal status and entity to the environment and the natural world, as opposed to just discussing it as a separate thing as a consequence of our own activities.

My right hon. Friend’s point about connectivity is very important. Is he aware of the agreement between a number of central American countries to create a wildlife corridor for the jaguar to survive, because it travels over a huge range? If it is cut off in certain isolated bits, it will simply die off.

The above are interventions in parliament. I have also made a number of Islington school visits, many of which focused on climate change discussions related to the London Schools Climate Summit 2022.