Trade Bill

My Lords, I will speak in support of Amendment 40. As we deepen and strengthen our global trading relations, we cannot ignore our environmental commitments. I support this amendment because it means that our environmental obligations, as outlined by international law, cannot be undermined by future trade deals.

 

This must be a green Brexit. The Government’s election manifesto stated that they will not compromise on our high environmental protections in any future trade deals. Without this amendment, these are promises without actions. The international agreements laid out in this amendment are about not just environmental protection but our health and well-being, and are for the benefit of generations to come.

 

In the interests of time, I will outline only three of these international agreements. First, the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution has helped reduce pollution levels across borders and improve human health. As we have seen during lockdowns, the rapid decline in air pollution has had a positive impact on the health and well-being of people and nature in the UK and internationally. By honouring our commitment to this convention in this amendment, we can continue to protect the health of people and ensure that we do not undermine the improvements made as we recover from the pandemic and restart the economy.

 

Secondly, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is included in this amendment. It is about not just maritime jurisdiction but managing resources in a sustainable manner. The issue of fish stocks in UK fishing waters has been a prominent debate in Brexit. By continuing our commitment to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, we can ensure that the quality ?and productiveness of our fish stocks are maintained. It is essential for both our biodiversity and the long-term livelihood of our fishermen.

 

Thirdly, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is a key mechanism for monitoring greenhouse gas contributions and plays an important role in reducing emissions in the fight against the climate crisis. Global trade has an environmental footprint. For instance, 30% of carbon dioxide emissions are from freight transport. As we develop trading relations, we must ensure that we stay on the path to net zero emissions by 2050. This amendment means that we will continue to protect the environment in a way that does not restrict trade. It is an opportunity to make trade more sustainable by supporting investment in greener sectors and turning away from polluting industries to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

 

This amendment would also ensure that, within 12 months of making regulations or ratifying a trade agreement, a report assessing the impact of regulations on our environmental obligations is presented to Parliament. This is key in ensuring that we are held accountable and have fully considered the implications of any deal. If the UK is to be a leader in sustainability, this amendment must be supported. Without it, we lack a meaningful commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

 

The Government assure us that they are putting green at the heart of the coronavirus recovery. The Prime Minister has said that he wants the UK to be seen as a leading example in enabling a global green industrial revolution. Supporting this amendment would enable us to be an effective environmental leader, especially as we prepare to host COP 26 next year.

 

See the full debate on Hansard

 

Updated: 16/10/2020 — 5:36 PM