Examination of Witnesses (Questions 300
THURSDAY 2 NOVEMBER 2006
Q300 Chairman: One of the more revealing
statements in Stern for me was that deforestation is responsible
for more carbon emissions than transport, so the need for an international
solution to this is obvious. As a Committee we are looking at
the Stern Report and having a short inquiry into that. Are there
areas that you would recommend to us that we should be looking
at in Stern?
Mr Bullock: I have one which is
relatively buried. We have not got our heads round it fully yet,
but they have a long section on the social cost of carbon, the
price you assign to it. Currently, the social cost of carbon is
used across government to determine what policies go ahead for
a range of different things. The Aviation White Paper, the current
waste strategy going forward, the recent code for sustainable
buildings have all been using a social cost of carbon which, in
our view, has been too low. What the Stern Report is saying is
very complex but it appears to be saying that that figure is too
low by a factor of three. If that is the case, that has a very
large implication for the sorts of decisions that we make on things
that have a big carbon impact like aviation expansion. To get
to the bottom of what Stern is recommending or what should be
recommended to UK policy, that is an area that needs looking into.
Professor Neumayer: Deforestation
is certainly important.
Q301 Chairman: I think we are looking
at it domestically.
Professor Neumayer: The real challenge
is to make the things that we know are badenvironmental
pollutionmuch more expensive and to tax less the things
that are good like people working. That is the biggest challenge,
apart from any specific sector. You cannot solve this problem
by looking at one sector and then the other sector. It is a cross-economy
problem and you need to address it with adequate instruments.
Q302 Chairman: Maybe we can look
at the terms of reference and invite evidence. Perhaps you could
write to us on that and give us your views. That would be very
helpful. Your evidence this morning has been very helpful to us.
Whilst this issue is very hard in many ways to generate in the
public mind, it is important for the future of individuals and
the country. We are grateful to you for taking the time to inform
us of your views. Thank you very much.