Thank you for contacting me about a potential Climate Emergency (and Biodiversity) Education Act.
My colleagues across Government take climate change seriously.
For example, the UK was the first country to legislate to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050, and is the fastest in the G20 to cut emissions. The Government has announced around £2 billion for new policies since setting the net zero targets and the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change, chaired by the Prime Minister, continues to ensure all arms of government are focussed on tackling this challenge. At the same time, the Environment Bill is being introduced to protect and improve the environment for future generations, enshrining in law environmental principles and legally-binding targets.
The Government is hopeful that many other countries will follow our lead in tackling climate change, particularly those with a larger share of global emissions, and it is the case that some such countries have committed to net zero emissions. The Prime Minister will be pushing for greater united global action on climate change at the COP26 climate change summit, which we are hosting this year.
It is vital that young people are taught facts, as far as they are supported by science, about climate change. This education starts in primary school, and continues in secondary school throughout both the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. Should students wish to specialise in this area, a new environmental science A level was introduced in 2017.
The Department for Education also supports energy efficiency in educational facilities through capital funding and programmes, both to reduce the carbon footprint and save schools money on energy. Almost £9 billion has been allocated in condition funding since 2015 to maintain and improve school buildings. Conditional funding can be invested in projects which improve energy efficiency. In addition, interest free loans for energy efficiency projects have been made available through the Salix finance scheme.
The UK's action on climate change is not limited just to our own borders. The UK will spend at least £3 billion of international climate finance on nature and biodiversity over five years.
The funding will be allocated from the UK’s existing commitment of £11.6 billion for international climate finance and will deliver transformational change in protecting biodiversity-rich land and ocean, shifting to sustainable food production and supply, and supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP