Queen’s Speech: Government reiterates support for Paris Agreement and low-carbon Industrial Strategy
The Queen's Speech has outlined the Government's commitment to maintain global climate change leadership, alongside proposals to ensure the electric vehicle (EV) market begins to thrive over the upcoming years.
Delivering the speech earlier this morning (21 June), the Queen said that the Government would “continue to support international action against climate change, including the implementation of the Paris Agreement”.
The Brexit-dominated speech presented 24 new bills, including legislation on customs, trade, immigration, fisheries and agriculture. The Queen confirmed that a new Industrial Strategy will be put forward to generate jobs and support British businesses.
She revealed that legislation will be introduced to “ensure the United Kingdom remains a world leader in new industries, including electric cars”. The bill will aim to build the EV market by improving national charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.
The speech has received a mixed reaction from the green business community. Many – including Aldersgate Group’s executive director Nick Molho – welcomed the decision to position low-carbon transport at the heart of the Industrial Strategy
“It is encouraging to see the Government’s desire to make the UK a leader in new industries and enhance its role on the world stage,” Molho said. “If the Government is to do this successfully, it will need to commit to an ambitious environmental and low carbon agenda.”
A Tory manifesto pledge to push forward with the development of shale gas in Britain was a notable absence from the speech, a move which was met positively by some sections of the green community who have been calling for a complete ban of shale gas extraction.
— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) June 21, 2017
However, the Queen’s Speech ultimately failed to provide clarity on a host of energy and environment priorities, as set out our edie’s list of green policy priorities for the new UK Government.
There was no mention about the timescale of either the proposed 25-Year Environment Plan or Clean Growth Plan. Likewise, the speech lacked any information on the Government’s strategy to tackle the country’s air pollution woes. WWF UK is among those suggesting that today’s speech was a “missed opportunity” to provide certainty on these issues.
“Whilst it is pleasing to see a reaffirmed commitment to the Paris Agreement, this should be seen as the very minimum in our responsibility to the environment,” WWF director of advocacy Lang Banks said.
“The speech lacked details on how we will actually achieve our climate goals with the absence of a long-awaited plan to reduce emissions. It was a missed opportunity to commit to introducing a 25-Year Plan for our environment and it failed to protect the world’s most iconic wildlife by omitting a consultation on a domestic UK ban on ivory.”