Therese used her first speech from the back benches in nine years to contribute to a debate in Parliament on Thursday about climate change and the forthcoming COP28 Conference.
She used the debate to highlight the necessity of a ‘just transition’ to net-zero recognising the particular impact on rural communities such as those in East Suffolk, where it is much more difficult to get EPC standard C and welcoming the more time they now have to transition away from oil boilers. She also referenced the impact of onshore infrastructure for offshore wind and the impact on community and nature.
The importance of nature was at the heart of her speech, where she underlined the point that there is no solution to climate change without protecting and restoring nature. Using the insight she’d gained from her time in DEFRA to talk about the ‘magic of mangroves’, which she previously labelled as ‘blue forests’ due to the amount of carbon they sequester. Suggesting countries should get rewarded for protecting them.
Therese said: “Saltmarsh is equivalent of mangroves in the UK and we really need the Marine Management Organisation to work a lot more collaboratively with Natural England and the Environment Agency to make it more straightforward to plant saltmarsh. There is this golden opportunity for saltmarsh, which not only sequesters carbon, but it’s also brilliant for habitat and for birds.”
Finally, Therese also used her speech to ask the Minister, Graham Stewart, to take up with the United Arab Emirates, the hosts of COP28, the fact that they have not yet ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to gradually reduce the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons – and to ask them to do so.