AFTER a particularly hectic time in Westminster, I was delighted to be able to enjoy a few days rest with the family at home. Our beautiful constituency is even more wonderful in the glorious sunshine we enjoyed over the Easter period.

However, as wonderful as the sunny warm weather has been, the climate change protests that have been going on across London reinforce the stark warnings that our actions are contributing to global warming which is harming our planet.

As well as MPs returning to Parliament on Tuesday, we also had a visit from Greta Thunberg, the remarkable 16-year old who has been a key figurehead in inspiring so many young people to take up this important cause.

As minister for energy and clean growth, I was happy to debate this topic in the House of Commons on Tuesday, both answering an Urgent Question on the protests and delivering a statement on our progress in decarbonising our economy.

In my statement, I welcomed the passion and fervour of the protesters, and their constant reminder to us of the duties we face in raising our eyes for the next few years of the conversation about our relationship with Europe and thinking about the long-term challenges that we face.

However, I also hope those who have taken their passion public will continue to express their views without disrupting the daily lives of ordinary people, and without endangering the safety of the public or undermining the consensus we will need to support further, bolder action.

I think it is also important to recognise and celebrate the huge progress that we have made already in decarbonising our economy.

That is why I was delighted that last year saw another record year for renewables, which generated 53 per cent of our electricity, whilst coal generation continued to fall to just five per cent.

Our ‘Powering Past Coal’ commitment, which I launched along with the Canadian Climate Minister, means that our power mix will be completely free from coal by 2024. In addition, we have said that by 2030 up to 70 per cent of our electricity generation will be from clean renewable sources, as we continue to decarbonise our economy.

We also know that we have to do more. That is why we have commissioned advice from the Committee on Climate Change on our long-term targets, including on the setting of a net zero target. I look forward to receiving a response from the committee later this year.