Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the division of responsibility for climate change between Ministers in her Department and the Deputy Prime Minister. 
15 Oct 2001 : Column: 1047W
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 25 June 2001]: As Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I will represent the UK at meetings and negotiations on international climate change issues, along with my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment, as I did in Bonn. The Deputy Prime Minister will continue to play a role in international climate change discussions and negotiations on behalf of the Prime Minister.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely cost to the taxpayer of replacing the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. 
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Government made of the impact of separating responsibility for rural affairs and land use planning into different Government Departments. 
Alun Michael [holding answer 25 June 2001]: The Government's assessment is that bringing together responsibility for the environment, food and farming and rural affairs in a single Department will make a major contribution to the promotion of sustainable development in rural areas. DEFRA's remit includes the promotion of sustainable development across Government. The planning system remains a key instrument in delivering the Government's sustainable development objectives, and we are putting in place mechanisms to ensure continued close working with the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have to visit international conferences relating to climate change in the next 12 months. 
15 Oct 2001 : Column: 1048W
Mr. Meacher: Ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will attend the Seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November this year, and the G8 Environment Ministers Conference, at which climate change will be discussed, in April 2002.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role she intends to take in negotiations at the international climate change talks in Bonn in July; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 13 July 2001]: I was the head of the UK delegation during the recent climate change talks in Bonn. I played a full role in the negotiations, including in the all-night discussions which led to political agreement on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) assessment and (b) monitoring her Department plans of the impact of the climate change levy her Department has made on (i) greenhouse gas emissions and (ii) businesses; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 13 July 2001]: The climate change levy, including climate change agreements, is expected to deliver reductions of 5MtC per annum by 2010. The levy is, overall, revenue neutral in that the receipts are being recycled to business through a 0.3 percentage point reduction in national insurance contributions and a programme of assistance to business to improve energy efficiency. The levy was introduced on 1 April 2001 and it is therefore too early to monitor impact. The operation of the levy will be kept under review.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contribution to the reduction in greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide under the climate change strategy is expected from (a) agriculture, (b) transport (excluding aviation), (c) aviation, (d) industry, (e) business, (f) households, and (g) other activities; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 13 July 2001]: The UK's climate change programme that was published in November 2000 sets out full details of all the policies and measures that are reducing the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. The UK's baseline projections, that include the effect of some policies that have been introduced since Kyoto in 1997, estimate that the UK's emissions could be about 15 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010. We estimate that the additional policies outlined in the programme could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 23 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010.
15 Oct 2001 : Column: 1049W
|TransportEU-level voluntary agreements on CO 2 from cars; 10-Year-Plan; action in Scotland and Wales.
|Businessclimate change agreements; energy efficiency measures under the levy package; emissions trading.
|Business and householdsreform of Building Regulations.
|Householdsimprovements to domestic energy efficiency, including the Energy Efficiency Commitment.
|2.6 to 3.7
|Householdsaction to replace community heating systems; New HEES; appliance standards and labelling.
|Other activitiespublic sector targets; action by the Scottish Executive.
(91) Million tonnes of carbon equivalent.
The UK's baseline projections include the effect of the fuel duty escalator to 1999 (12.5 MtC), the price effect of the climate change levy (2 MtC) and delivery of the 10 per cent. renewables target (2.5 MtC). It has not been possible to identify separate carbon savings from aviation, although action is being taken to tackle the rising emissions from this sector. Reduced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from the agriculture sector, and of nitrous oxide and the fluorinated gases from the industrial sector, have also already been included in baseline projections.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress her Department has made towards meeting the objectives of the Government's climate change strategy; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 13 July 2001]: The Government have continued to take action to tackle climate change. In 1999, the last year for which figures are available, the UK's greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced to 14.4 per cent. below 1990 levels.
The Government have also made good progress towards implementing the policies and measures that were set out in the climate change programme. For example, the climate change levy package has been introduced, the Carbon Trust and the Climate Change Projects Office have been set up; substantial funds have been made available to support renewable energy projects; and a draft framework for a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme was published in May, with trading due to begin in April 2002. The Government are also offering an incentive of £215 million over five years to companies joining the scheme.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the recent Royal Society report, "The Role of Land Carbon Sinks in Mitigating Global Climate Change". 
15 Oct 2001 : Column: 1050W
Mr. Meacher: The Royal Society's report is a valuable contribution to the debate on how to respond to the threat of climate change. In particular we share the Society's view that, because of the finite size, uncertainty and potential reversibility, sink enhancement should not divert resources from technologies which reduce emissions. We also agree with the Society that steps should be taken to manage forests and crops in a way that protects and enhances their role as a carbon sink in a manner compatible with other goals of sustainable development, and accept the need to increase accuracy of monitoring and verification of land sinks. The Society's conclusions are consistent with the policy that the UK pursues in the international climate negotiations, and with UK policies for sustainable agriculture and forestry. We congratulate the Society on timely publication of the report shortly before the successful resumption of the climate change negotiations in July.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's plans in respect of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change document on climate change published on 12 July. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 17 July 2001]: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) documents published on 12 July were approved earlier in the year and the summaries from each of the three volumes have been available on the IPCC website (http://www.ipcc.ch) since then. The 12 July launch was of the final printed version by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the IPCC. The Government have taken a close interest in the preparation and approval of these reports and have drawn on earlier drafts in preparing the United Kingdom's Climate Change Programme published last November. The Government strongly support the IPCC and regard these reports as providing an authoritative view on the scientific and technical aspects of climate change. The Government with the EU have pressed for consideration of the implications of the IPCC reports at the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Marrakesh in October/ November.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with members of the (a) US and (b) Japanese Administrations on the Kyoto targets; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 13 July 2001]: I discussed the Kyoto Protocol with Paula Dobriansky, Under-Secretary for Global Affairs at the US State Department, and Yoriko Kawaguchi, the Japanese Environment Minister, during the recent climate change talks in Bonn. I also met Mrs. Kawaguchi in London on 16 July. I emphasised the importance of pressing ahead with the Kyoto Protocol, while keeping the door open to the US.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department has received from (a) the Department of Trade and Industry, (b) the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and (c) the
15 Oct 2001 : Column: 1051W
Cabinet Office regarding (i) ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and (ii) the UK Climate Change Strategy; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 July 2001]: The Government have declared their intention to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and will aim to do so at the same time as other member states of the European Community by 2002 at the latest.
Climate change is a major, cross-cutting policy issue. The UK climate change programme was developed in close consultation with all relevant Government Departments, many of which are responsible for developing and implementing policies in the programme.