Climate Change Policy Debate

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Richard Benyon

Main Page: Richard Benyon (Conservative) - Newbury)

Climate Change Policy

Richard Benyon Excerpts
Tuesday 23rd April 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Claire Perry Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Apr 2019, 8:14 p.m.

Good. I was coming on to say that one of the most effective ways to influence the built environment is at a local level. I have been struck by the ambition of, and the progress made by, local authorities and combined authorities across the UK. Of course the Government can set ambitions and change regulations, but it is much more powerful for local authorities to say, “This is what we want to do, and this is where the investment needs to go,” and design it themselves. I have been particularly pleased, in the homes environment, with the announcement that we will not be building homes reliant on fossil fuel heating by 2025. Not only will that transform heating, but it will improve the market conditions and drive down the cost of that technology.

Richard Benyon (Newbury) (Con) Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Apr 2019, 8:15 p.m.

I am not entirely sure what is meant by declaring a climate emergency. As far as I am concerned, there is a climate emergency. The IPCC report gives us 12 years to get this sorted out, which is a nanosecond in climatic science terms. We do need to scare the pants off our constituents about the changes that we need to make, but it will only work if we carry our constituents with us. With their busy lives, they will simply turn a tin ear to finger pointing and negativity. We need to mobilise the essential optimism of the British people about the opportunities for change that exist right across the economy.

Claire Perry Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Apr 2019, 8:16 p.m.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. I paid tribute to him earlier for making the point that this is not just about our atmosphere, but about our watercourses, our land use and our entire ecosystem. We must focus on the opportunities. When many people hear that we have 12 years to save the planet—that is a terrifying thought—they think, “What is the point? We cannot possibly change anything, because there is so much CO2 and we will never get rid of it.” The point is that we can change, and we have changed. We have done so in a way that has not impoverished people or interfered with our energy security. Energy bills have actually gone down, because energy efficiency in the home has increased. These are myths that we must bust, and we must take people with us as we make the changes.