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Mr. Simon Thomas: Although I support the motion, the hon. Gentleman has tempted me to enter the debate. He will know that the proposed site of the largest wind farm in the UK is in my constituency at Cefn Croes, but he might not know that the opposition to that project has come from, yes, local Liberal Democrats. Furthermore, the previous incumbent of the constituency that I now represent is one of the foremost opponents of that wind farm—so much so that he has refused to allow it even to pass electricity wires over his land.

Mr. Jones: I did not know that, but I am sure that the House is grateful for the information, which shows the difference between what the Liberals say and what they do. I do not want to be drawn into attacking only the Liberals, but as it was they who chose the subject of the debate and as their spokesman was so pious in attacking the Government, we should be informed about their actions at the local level. There is a slogan "Think globally, act locally"; well, the Liberals speak globally, then act locally in an entirely different fashion.

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If we are to meet the ambitious targets that the Government have set, and I hope we do, we will have to act quickly, especially on planning issues. We must find a quicker, more efficient and reasonable way to deal with planning proposals; otherwise we will never be able to meet the targets. If we meet them without building any new nuclear power stations in the meantime, nuclear power will decline over the next 20 years. If we meet our ambitious targets, in 2020 we shall be producing about 20 per cent. of our power from renewable sources, but the 27 per cent. of our power that we currently derive from nuclear power will have declined to about 7 per cent. In other words, we will have lost the 20 per cent. accounted for by carbon-free nuclear generation and gained it back in carbon-free renewables generation. We will still be in exactly the same place as we are now—no progress made at all.

That is a difficult problem that can be resolved in only a few ways. The first is to forget about making any real progress towards the Kyoto targets. The second is to admit that those targets can be achieved only by building nuclear power stations as well. The third is to take the current ambitious renewables targets, double them, and take serious action to meet those new and much more ambitious targets. Those are the only options available. I would never accept reneging on our Kyoto targets, and I would prefer us to have the option of developing renewables at a far more ambitious rate than we are currently achieving so that we do not need to use nuclear power, but if that becomes impossible, nuclear power is a better option than polluting the world with global warming gases. We should admit that and deal with the difficult issues that arise from it.

I am glad to see that David King, the Government chief scientist, has set his mind to those difficult issues. I would like the Liberals to tell us their intentions in respect of each of those options, instead of saying all the politically popular things—

Malcolm Bruce indicated dissent.

Mr. Jones: It is true: the Liberals always say politically popular things and duck the difficult decisions.

Mr. David Chaytor (Bury, North): Does my hon. Friend accept that the chief scientist's recent statement referred specifically to the nuclear option as a possible interim solution, pending the full development of a renewables industry in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Jones: I am glad that my hon. Friend has made that point. That is indeed precisely what David King said, and I think that it may well be the best practical solution. The Government chief scientist also said that he hoped nuclear fusion would be developed. That is a long-held ambition—ever since I was at school, people have hoped that nuclear fusion would prove to be the answer to our power needs.

We have to examine how different parts of the United Kingdom contribute to the overall national target. Some work has been carried out by the Department of Trade and Industry, but when we look at the various targets set by the regions of the United Kingdom and at how they

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intend to achieve them, it is hard to see that they are all working towards the same economic, social and environmental strategy, because there are huge variations in the targets that the different regions propose to reach and in the ways they propose to reach them. Some intend to use wind power, others wave power, tidal power or biomass. The Government must provide greater co-ordination and direction on how to reach the targets if we are to have any realistic hope of success.

8.38 pm

Tony Baldry (Banbury): It is imperative that the UN conference on sustainable development should not merely become a talking shop. There is a risk that it might do so in focusing on the wrong policy at the wrong time. There is no clearer example of that than "Kyoto"—I put it in inverted commas because I use it as a piece of shorthand. If Kyoto is taken to Johannesburg, one might as well forget about real progress being made at the summit. Kyoto would divide the conference and it would mean disaster and a missed opportunity.

Developing countries are not yet even bound by the environmental targets set at Kyoto, so I was slightly surprised that, when the International Development Committee recently took evidence from officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, one of the witnesses commented that the Johannesburg summit would not primarily be concerned with poverty reduction in developing countries. There is perhaps some confusion in the machinery of Government in Whitehall, because that comment was all the more surprising when one considers that the Department of International Development defines sustainable development as follows:

It is worth putting Johannesburg in the context of the process of arriving at a consensus on poverty eradication through a number of UN summits. The first part of the process were the millennium development goals, which sought agreement on poverty reduction, health and education, and progress on those at Johannesburg is as vital as the environment itself. The Cabinet Committee co-ordinating work on Johannesburg said in evidence submitted to the International Development Committee, which I chair, that the first priority is poverty reduction. That is essential.

The Environmental Audit Committee—whose Chairman I hope will catch your eye, Madam Deputy Speaker—made an excellent report to the House:

Poverty eradication must be at the forefront and the substance of what Johannesburg is all about.

Mr. Simon Thomas: The hon. Gentleman referred to the Environmental Audit Committee's report, with which, as a member of that Committee, I agree. Does he accept that also on the agenda in Johannesburg is sustainable energy, and the trick is to make sustainable energy work in favour of the poorest countries and in favour of their

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development? I agree with him about the real politics about Kyoto; we cannot take energy issues out of what is happening in Johannesburg.

Tony Baldry: That was why I put Kyoto in inverted commas. If Kyoto is on the agenda at Johannesburg there will simply be a bust-up, and that is why we need to approach the matter from the point of view of poverty eradication; and sustainable energy, sustainable water and sustainable livelihoods are all part of that.

From the millennium development goals we went to Doha and the Doha declaration, and from there we went to Monterrey. Monterrey was important. I am conscious that others want to speak so I shall keep my comments short. I am particularly conscious that the Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee wishes to speak. Monterrey has focused national Governments on international development, but they now need to focus their minds on more money for international development.

The World Bank estimates that something up to $60 billion will be needed to meet the 2015 targets. Non-governmental organisations have estimated that figure at $100 billion. At Monterrey, the US and the EU, the developed world, pledged an investment of $12 billion by 2006, well short of what the Government acknowledge in the Budget Red Book is needed. It is worth noting that current GDP spending on overseas aid reflects only one fifth of that provided to Europe under the Marshall plan.

It is essential that countries do not simply produce a wish list of action points at Johannesburg. They must ensure that they will the means to achieve those action points. There is a clear correlation of objectives between Monterrey and Johannesburg, which is succinctly expressed in the Environmental Audit Committee's report on Johannesburg, to whose comments about poverty eradication I referred. It went on:

I certainly support that view.

After Johannesburg, three important UN conferences will have taken place this year. They form part of a process, but there is a danger that the international community will merely keep on coming up with new initiatives for international development. Instead of doing that, it should deliver on the pledges made at Doha, Monterrey and—it is to be hoped—Johannesburg. We should have a process that is monitored. I hope that either in an annual debate on international development or on some other occasion, we in the House can monitor the progress that our Government have made on meeting the commitments that we as a nation entered into at Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg.

We must concentrate on that process, rather than on running around for ever trying to dream up new initiatives. We need continually to ensure—this a point that we must all bang on about—that we will the means. The Environmental Audit Committee said:

I do not understand why it is not possible for the Government to find a ministerial form of words about when the 0.7 per cent. target can be met.

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I understand the Chancellor's reluctance not to be hijacked into making what he might see as too early a commitment. He said yesterday in the International Development Committee that when the comprehensive spending review was published, he would give a commitment for the life of that review on the extent to which he could raise international development spending. Why not find a form of words that gives some meaningful commitment to the 0.7 per cent. target, rather than a statement that we are pledged to meet it some time? We have been pledged to meeting it some time for some very considerable time.

The Chancellor also acknowledges that the international community is short of what is needed to meet the pledges made at Monterrey. We have heard a lot about the international development trust fund, although we discovered yesterday that it is not a fund but a facility. On listening to the Chancellor's evidence, it struck me that the fund resembles a reinvention of part of the World Bank. I am not entirely sure why we need to reinvent the World Bank, because there is a shortfall in the funds that are necessary for international development. The point is simple: Johannesburg is part of a process of UN conferences and we need to ensure that we deliver on the commitments, but we will not be able to do so unless the international community collectively pledges and provides the funds that are necessary to take those commitments forward.

Time is short, but I should like briefly to speak about the need for realism at Johannesburg. I hope that we will not see a split or spat between what one might describe as environmental NGOs and developing countries that are concerned about their development. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood) made an interesting point that we all need to address. We in the west and north—the developed world—have had centuries of investment that continues to bring us rewards and riches. This week, Christian Aid brought to the House a number of witnesses from Africa who told us about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi and Ghana. People in such countries are living in desperate poverty and for them, the debate is not about wind power, fusion or nuclear energy; very often, is it simply about how to find firewood and the means for getting through the next day. That is what constitutes sustainable development for them. We must not patronise them by suggesting that the only way of ensuring sustainable development is by somehow suppressing development in the developing countries. They, too, are entitled to sustainable development and should be encouraged to that end. I hope that we can find a language and a vocabulary at Johannesburg that ensures a truly sustainable world while allowing poor countries to break off and emerge from the grinding yoke of poverty that has borne down on them for far too long.

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