On Wednesday 26th June, thousands of people from all over the country came to lobby their MPs as part of The Time Is Now campaign, in what was the largest ever environmental lobby of parliament. I went to meet with a group of constituents from Rutland and Melton to talk about climate change and what the Government is doing to tackle it. It was encouraging to hear them talk with such passion about such a critical issue, and I was impressed by their well-researched and thoughtful views and questions.
I am glad that the United Kingdom is leading the way in confronting climate change. Since 1990 we have reduced emissions faster than any other nation in the G20, and this month, we became the first major economy to introduce a legally binding net zero target to end the UK’s contribution to global warming entirely by 2050. We are also set to host the 2020 United Nations climate change conference, with the hope of setting even more ambitious international targets than in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Under the Clean Growth Strategy, £92 billion has been invested by businesses into clean energy over the past nine years, and renewables have gone from producing 6.1% of our electricity to 37.1%. Renewable energy is now 13 times higher than coal output, which is being phased out totally by 2025. Overall, the renewable energy sector has quadrupled since the Conservatives were elected to government.
Constituents also wanted assurances about maintaining and improving our environmental standards as we leave the European Union. The Environment Bill will put environmental ambition and accountability at the very heart of government, enhancing the commitment to leave the natural world in a better condition than we found it, and creating a new environment body to ensure it succeeds. This will include legislative measures to address air quality; nature recovery; waste and resource efficiency, and water resource management.
I am greatly encouraged that there seems to be such momentum towards tackling the threat of global warming, and proud that this Government is meeting the challenge with such ambition.