The threat of climate change has never been more apparent. I am pleased that the government has responded, including cutting the use of coal for power generation by almost 40 percent since 2012, supporting a quadrupling of renewable energy since 2010 and setting a target for all new cars to be effectively zero emission by 2040.
We can be proud that 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 of any G7 nation. I am delighted that the Government is determined to build on this good work, and has committed recently to totally eliminating the UK’s net contribution to global CO2 emissions by 2050. This is the most ambitious carbon reduction target in the developed world and means the UK is leading the way in combating climate change.
I still believe we can and should go even further. That is why I have argued personally for additional practical measures that we can introduce now, such as a requirement to include roof-mounted solar panels to provide green power on all new industrial developments. I have also made the case for the installation of charging points to help the spread of clean electric cars in our residential areas.
In addition to our work on climate change, we must continue to develop global gold standard environmental policies, restore nature and reverse environmental decline. I believe that if we stick to our commitments, we will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it.
I was very encouraged that the first progress report of the Government's ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan found that 90 per cent of its priority actions to protect our environment have been delivered or are on track for delivery. I believe this demonstrates a real commitment to improve the environment within a generation. Measures so far have included the 5p plastic bag charge (which has reduced the consumption of plastic bags in England by 15 billion), a commitment to plant 11 million trees by the end of the Parliament and the creation of a Nature Recovery Network to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich land.