Column 1314own estate by 15 per cent. over the five years ending in March 1996. The 1993 results are being analysed, but the 1992-93 CO emissions per square metre and CO total emissions had reduced by 6 per cent. and 3 per cent. respectively. After March 1996, further targets will be set to take Government estate energy use to well below 80 per cent. of 1990 levels by the year 2000.
On efficiency standards for appliances, the Government have always supported the European Commission in developing measures to bring about improvements in the energy efficiency of domestic appliances. A directive covering the mandatory energy labelling of refrigerators and freezers came into force in the UK on 1 January. Further directives are under way covering the mandatory labelling of washing machines and tumble dryers, and progress has clearly been made in that direction.
Clearly, with an innovative programme of that scale, it is crucial that we monitor the progress towards achieving our overall target. Our programmes have quantitative targets. We monitor and report on them, for example, in an annual White Paper. We are also questioned on them regularly in the House. The hon. Gentleman is vigorous in doing so.
It is inevitable that some elements of the programme will save more CO than expected, and others will save less. Continuous monitoring is, and will continue to be, an essential part of the process of developing a response within the flexible programme that the Government have laid out. I have already mentioned some elements of the programme where we have carried out some adjustments. Some items in the programme are more experimental than others and further adjustments must be made. I accept that the Energy Saving Trust had a difficult and uncertain year. I am abundantly aware of that because Lord Moore was my predecessor as Member of Parliament for my constituency and lives just down the road. On Monday, my hon. Friend the Minister for Energy and Industry announced that the Government will take powers to contribute to the trust's running costs. That will enable the trust to reconsider its plans, and it represents an important first step in establishing funding for the trust and the schemes that it brings forward.
The hon. Gentleman asked about the role of the regulators. Their independence is an important principle. They must balance their various duties, and the hon. Gentleman would not expect me to comment on legislation that is not yet before this House and that is not for my Department.
Our monitoring shows that we are currently on course. Provisional figures for 1993 show a reduction of 6 million tonnes of carbon compared with 1990 levels. With the economy beginning to grow again, we cannot afford to be complacent, and we are currently considering whether further measures will be needed in the light of recent developments. We will draw our conclusions from that review as soon as possible.
The convention represents an important first step in tackling the threat of climate change, but it is only a beginning. The adequacy of existing commitments will be reviewed at the first conference of parties to the convention that starts next month in Berlin. It is expected that the conference will set in place the machinery for agreeing further far- reaching commitments.
The Government will support the position of the European Union, agreed at the meeting of the
Column 1315Environment Council in December, which calls for the current commitments in the climate change convention to be strengthened and extended. The conference will begin to examine what more could or should be done under the next phase of the convention.
Our programme sets out possible options for further measures beyond the year 2000, and we will examine them carefully, taking into account the national conference to look beyond 2000 that was held last year. We will also take account of the new energy projections, to ensure that the UK is well placed to contribute towards achieving the convention's ultimate objective.
Column 1316The Government emphatically remain fully committed to fulfilling their obligations under the climate change convention. The threat of climate change is a global problem and must be solved by global action. That is why we remain committed to active participation in the international process under the climate change convention and to fulfilling our own obligations. We will continue to monitor and review our programme, taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that we remain on course to meet our commitments.
Question put and agreed to.
Adjourned accordingly at two minutes past Three o'clock.
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