As I write on Sunday evening, we are just a few hours away from Hurricane Ophelia making landfall on the southwest coast of Ireland. It feels quite surreal just to write that. A week ago, had anyone else written that, I would have said how it is impossible to get actual hurricanes close to Europe and the British Isles.
On Saturday I saw on the news how Hurricane Ophelia had strengthened to a category 3 hurricane just north of the Azores and how this was the furthest east in the Atlantic a category 3 hurricane had ever been recorded. It was very fortunate that Ophelia missed the Azores or didn’t slam into the Portuguese coast, where the warmer waters would have seen this be a catastrophic event, such as we have recently witnessed in the Caribbean.
Unusual and severe weather events are becoming more common, and with a global population that keeps on growing by 200, 000 people every day, more and more people are seeing their lives adversely impacted by severe weather events for which most scientists believe that climate change is responsible for.
According to the Climate Action Network, after France and Sweden, the UK is the third best country in the world for tackling climate change. We are ahead of Germany, Italy, Ireland and Denmark in the rankings for action taken to tackle climate change. As a leading global nation, it is right that the Conservative government has put clean growth at the heart of its Industrial strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change
Last month, the Government published our clean growth strategy that will cut carbon emissions while keeping the costs down for consumers, creating good jobs and growing the economy. For the first time in a generation, our government is leading the way on energy, taking decisions on new nuclear, rolling out smart meters and leading the way on clean growth. It is wrong to think we stop climate change but we should do everything realistically possible to limit it.