2019

July 2019 Newsletter from John Howell MP for Henley

As I think of holidays I am sure many will be travelling abroad. With climate change high on our agenda the issue of CO2 emissions from aviation is a hot topic. Some people avoid travelling by air but for others this is not realistic. Some people look at carbon offsetting and I know that others find it difficult to know what to do for the best. As with all issues around climate change we need to tackle it on all fronts. There is a need for action at a global level. Here I am pleased that Ministers are taking action to encourage the development and supply of lower carbon jet fuels. Amendments have been made to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order (RTFO) to include the use of sustainable alternative fuels in aviation. Further to this, £20 million has been made available through the National Productivity Investment Fund to leverage private sector investment to help develop and commercialise alternative fuels.

This month the Committee on Climate Change published its Progress Report to Parliament. In it they welcome Parliament’s decision to make ‘net zero’ law commenting that it is a positive step making carbon neutrality mainstream. The legislation has been brought forward by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and it puts the UK on track to become the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions. Other major economies are expected to follow suit. It is also good that young people will also have the chance to shape future climate policy through a Youth Steering Group which has been set up by Government and will be led by the British Youth Council. They will advise Government on priorities for environmental action and give a view on progress to date against existing commitments on climate, waste and recycling, and biodiversity loss. Of course tough targets do not, in themselves, reduce emissions. We need action plans to deliver the targets. Much needs to be done. I acknowledge that it is for Government to drive this forward and I agree entirely with the progress report that decisive cross-cutting action is needed.

Every step is progress and we should not be too quick to criticise. No should we feel overwhelmed by the challenge as I know some people do. Every action taken is a move in the right direction and we should not feel that our own actions are too small. I know that there are several communities in the constituency where a climate action group has been set up. I would welcome knowing more about these so that we can encourage one another and share ideas.

More generally, if you have an issue or concern relating to Parliament which you would like to discuss you can email me at howelljm@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons (House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA) or my constituency office (PO Box 84, Watlington, OX49 5XD).