It’s hard to believe that 125 weeks ago, I signed Net Zero into law when the UK became the first G7 country to commit. If you told me then that by COP26 over 90% of countries would commit to Net Zero, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Net Zero means balancing out remaining greenhouse gas emissions with other actions. Some sectors are expected to still be releasing greenhouse gases in 2050. To offset them, emitters count on projects that cut emissions elsewhere or on using natural solutions or technology to stop emissions reaching the atmosphere. COP26, the UN Climate Summit recently held in Glasgow, has undoubtably been a success. The Glasgow Climate Pact included the first ever global commitment to limit coal use, increased financial help for developing countries and committed to emissions-cutting plans at COP27 to keep the 1.5C target agreed in the Paris Agreement.

However, there is much more that needs to be done. Clearly, tangible progress has been made, but the highest emitters need to be held accountable for their actions. A US-China agreement to co-operate on climate issues showed the highest emitting countries are willing to come to the negotiating table and play their part.

I campaigned to oppose the Whittonstall and Halton Lea Gate open cast coal mines. I am also strongly opposed to the plans of a new open cast mine at Dewley Hill, near Heddon on the Wall, which in my view is a climate change disaster waiting to happen.

Nationally, as the government’s Pensions Minister, I guided the landmark Pension Schemes Act through Parliament in October 2020, ensuring that UK pension schemes take due account of climate change in their investment practices.

Northumberland is the greenest county of them all. A recent report showed our county has seen the largest drop in per-person carbon emissions between 2005 and 2019 in England – an 83% drop.

Northumberland was one of the first counties to declare a climate emergency, and the County Council has set out an ambitious target of hitting carbon neutrality by 2030. New green technologies are coming - whether its Egger transforming its operations in Hexham, or BritishVolt opening their gigafactory in Blyth.

Through the government’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the UK is taking firm action to reduce our carbon emissions. As President Joe Biden’s Climate Envoy, John Kerry said the ‘’starting pistol’’ has now been fired towards proper global action, and I will continue to help tackle climate change to ensure our future generations.