Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi decided not to support the idea of Parliament declaring a climate emergency this month, because he disagreed with the wording of the opposition motion.
A motion calling on the house to declare a climate emergency was passed by MPs, and while he did not oppose it, Mr Zahawi said could not support the motion as it declared that funding to Natural England had been drastically cut.
Labour put forward the motion in the light of high profile climate change protests by the group Extinction Rebellion and by student across the country over recent months.
Mr Corbyn said that the passing of the motion could set off a wave of action by parliaments across the world to tackle climate change.
Mr Zahawi said: “The Government did not support the Opposition’s motion because we totally reject the assertion of cuts to Natural England. However we did not oppose the motion either given our commitment to, and strong record on, addressing climate change and its many contributing factors.”
Providing his reaction to Mr Zahawi’s stance, Stratford Environmental Campaigner, Peter Chaddock said: “As I recall, neither Mr Gove nor any of the conservative MPs who attended the five hour debate took it upon themselves to take issue with Mr Corbyn when he talked about cuts to Natural England. Most peculiar then that Nadhim has chosen to give this as “The Government’s” sole reason for not supporting such a vital motion.
“Furthermore, during the debate, that fact that the government have fudged the figures to make it sound like we are doing better than we actually are on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, was spoken of more than once without challenge. It is now no secret that the UK is “on course to miss” its future carbon reduction targets.”
Mr Chaddock said the government’s approval of a third runway at Heathrow, it’s attitude to fracking and its ending of the solar feed Tariff, did not support Mr Zahawi’s assertion that it has a ‘strong record’ on environmental issues.
Providing his view on the motion, Kenilworth and Southam MP, Jeremy Wright said: “The Opposition Day Motion on the environment and climate change was not put to a formal vote, but we must tackle climate change, and the Government I support has taken several measures to do so.
“Britain is firmly on track to meet the 2050 target to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases by 80 per cent. Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds, the best performance on a per person basis than any other G7 nation.”
He added: “The Government recognise the situation we face is an emergency. It is a crisis, and it is a threat that we must all unite to meet.”