Climate Change: Update January 2019

Thank you for contacting me about climate change.

You are right that the Calder Valley is full of inspiring examples of innovative and enterprising action on the environment and the quality of life.

Turning to the national picture on addressing climate change, the UK has played a leading role as the world has worked towards a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Paris Agreement.

Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds, the best performance on a per person basis than any other G7 nation. The Government’s Energy Act puts Britain firmly on track to meet the 2050 target to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases by 80 per cent and underpins the remarkable investment that the UK has seen in its low carbon economy since 2010.

The UK is a world leader in clean growth and the Government has invested more than £52 billion in renewable energy in the UK since 2010. The Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy identify and target the huge potential opportunity for the UK from clean growth and the transition to a low carbon economy, while the National Adaptation Programme 2018-23 sets out a strategy for dealing with the effects of a changing climate. The Government has also agreed to support and expand offshore wind, and made the historic commitment to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025.

That said, I appreciate that you would like to see the UK increase its ambition on climate change. The Government believes the UK will need to legislate for a net zero emissions target at an appropriate point in the future, to provide legal certainty on where the UK is heading. In the meantime, Ministers will continue to seek advice from the UK’s independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, on the UK’s long-term emission reduction targets.

Understandably, there is much local concern about the threat of flooding. The Calder Valley has long been vulnerable to floods, for a variety of reasons, and many are clear that climate change is adding to that vulnerability. It is with that very much in mind that I work with colleagues in Government on continuing to pursue policies that will reduce that threat and to keep their effectiveness under review; the Calder Valley will benefit from responsible national and international action on the climate as well as from the substantial capital expenditure on flood measures in the Calder Valley put in place by the Government. I continue, of course, to monitor the effectiveness of the flood measures taken so far and to ensure that Calder Valley's needs are well understood by Government and other agencies.

On the specific issue of fracking in the UK, the Government is clear that the safe development of shale gas will be good for jobs, good for our energy security, and help the UK to decarbonise its economy. I believe that we need a diverse energy mix, and that shale gas can play a part in that.

I believe that the right protections are in place to ensure that fracking can go ahead safely without risk to our most beautiful and important natural sites. People should have confidence that the UK’s world leading environmental regulations will deliver clean, safe shale gas extraction. For this reason, the Government is providing further reassurance for our most valued areas. With these protections in place, I think it is right that we explore and make use of shale gas and oil.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

January 2019