Decarbonising our energy system is not some abstract regulatory requirement; it is an essential responsibility that we hold towards our children and grandchildren, as the only way to effectively counter the threat of climate change.
Our world-leading Climate Change Act was passed by a majority of 463 votes to three; the will of Parliament has rarely been expressed so strongly and unambiguously.
As highlighted recently by Fiona Harvey in the Guardian, however we choose to leave the EU and implement the will of the people as expressed in last month’s referendum, let me be absolutely clear: the Government is completely committed to dealing with climate change.
And we have been getting on with the job. We have achieved record levels of investment in renewable energy: in 2014, 30 per cent of all Europe’s renewable energy investment took place in the UK. We have surpassed our own expectations: solar power capacity has now reached over 10GW, with 99 per cent of that having been installed since 2010.
We are on track for 35 per cent of our electricity to come from renewables by 2020, and our overall emissions have fallen by a third since 1990.
This is a fantastic success story, of which industry and government can both be proud.
With the announcement last week of our intention to legislate for a 57 per cent reduction in emissions for the Fifth Carbon Budget, our expectations for the future are clear. This is a further step towards our 2050 target of an 80 per cent reduction, which implies the large-scale decarbonisation not only of the power sector, but also of heating and transport.
I believe that it is in all of our interests to reach the point where clean energy can deploy without subsidy, and the Government can remove itself from the market, as soon as possible.