Climate protests: Energy minister says UK should be proud of climate efforts

Energy minister, Claire Perry said the UK should be proud of its climate efforts, and that the country is a world leader in tackling the issues around climate change. Responding to the recent demonstrations in London, Perry said protesters might in future consider expressing their views "without undermining the consensus" needed for progress.

“We’ve heard loud calls today that we should declare a climate emergency, and my answer to that is that we can say words all we like from the dispatch box but what counts is actions,” she said, going on to detail ways in which the government is tackling “the most profound environmental challenge facing the world today”.

Perry said that while she accepted that concerted and more action at national and international level is required as a matter of urgency, there should also be an acknowledgement of the fact that the UK has shown leadership thanks to cross-party consensus forged on the matter since the passage of the Climate Change Act.

“Since 1990, we have cut our emissions in the UK by 42 per cent while growing the economy by 72 per cent. We are independently assessed as leading the G20 in decarbonisation since 2000. Greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis meanwhile fell by 21 per cent between 2007 and 2016. They fell 6per cent year on year in the year to 2016.

“Across the UK, almost 400,000 people are working in low carbon jobs and their supply chains,” Perry added. “A sector that is bigger than aerospace and is growing at a factor of two or three times the mainstream economy.”

The Energy Minister went on to detail the UK's involvement in the Paris Climate Change talks, COP24 in Poland, the Powering Past Coal Alliance and most recently, the publication in November 2017 of the Clean Growth Strategy, to which she referred to as one of the most "comprehensive documents any government has put out across the world" detailing how we will take decarbonisation action across the economy.

“I have the utmost respect for those pushing for stronger action to address the risk of uncontrolled climate change. The right to protest peacefully is a long-standing tradition in this country and a vital foundation of our democracy. It has been good to see that the demonstrations have by and large been good-natured, and the police response has been sensible and proportionate.

“I hope those who have taken their passion public will continue to express their views without disrupting the daily lives of ordinary people, and without endangering the safety of the public. And also without undermining the consensus, we will need to support further, bolder action.”

The Met Police has so far charged 69 people in relation to the Extinction Rebellion protests, following a week of demonstrations around the capital. Of these, some have been charged with more than one offence.

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