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Lord Lawson of Blaby: My Lords, I realise that the Minister did not know that she was going to be answering this Question, but might it not be more sensible to lean in the direction of truth? Is she aware that the noble Lord, Lord Taverne, has put his finger on what is potentially a major scandal?
Under the flawed proceedings of the IPCC even the lowest emissions scenario, which leads to the lowest extent of projected global warming, is based on a rate of growth of the developing countries in the coming century that is far faster than has ever been known. As a result, by the end of the century under its projections, the average income of Algerians, South Africans and North Koreans will be higher than that of the citizens of the United States. Is the noble Baroness really content that this very important matter on which major policy and public expenditure decisions have to be taken should be left to what is little more than an environmentalist closed shop that is unsullied by any acquaintance with economics, statistics or, indeed, economic history?
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, never for a moment did I believe that one day I would challenge some of the assumptions of the noble Lord, Lord Lawson. I cannot agree with him. Very careful consideration has been given to the methodology that is to be used. I think that the noble Lord is in error in some of the points he makes. It is extremely important to recognise that once, for example, Castles and Henderson complained about the methodology, they were given an opportunity to express their views. It is not a closed shop of environmentalists; it is people who are taking very seriously the future of the planet. One has only to look, for example, at the rate of growth in China to see that there could be grave errors in switching the methodology in the opposite direction.
Lord Tanlaw: My Lords, the noble Baroness mentioned that the intergovernmental panel covered a whole century. Has it seen the latest from some scientists who have reported alarming change in the circulation of the Atlantic currents, which, from the sediments of the Antarctic that have been checked, means that global warming could create global freezing in a matter of a few decades rather than centuries? Any approach should surely be flexible to take those new factors into consideration. Has the intergovernmental panel done that, or is it still a little behind on the scientific facts?
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, is speaking in support of the Government's position. The implications of the rate of change to our planet are so serious that the Government are committed to continuing to be very cautious about listening to those of whom the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, spoke who say that we are taking the matter too seriously and assuming the worst. The noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, is right in his assertion that we must look with a degree of alarm, be prepared and ensure that British industry and activity are in a position to benefit from low-carbon economies and related research, which will give them opportunities to help other countries.
Lord Desai: My Lords, does my noble friend not agree that whether one takes one measure of GDP or another is very much a matter of taste? After all, nobody pays their bills in purchasing power parity; they pay it in real money, which is based on market exchange rates. Does she not also agree that there is no evidence that measuring income in purchasing power parity will have any different environmental impact from measuring it in market exchange currencies?
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Desai is right; purchasing power parity is not necessarily a better method of assessing the environmental impact of growth rates. The other extremely important point about market exchange rate methodology is that data are available for much longer periods. When looking to development over the
Lord Campbell of Croy: My Lords, are the Government concerned about forecasts that the melting of ice near the poles will lead to flooding from the sea in low-lying coastal areas in various countries? Are they taking precautions where the United Kingdom is affected?
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Yes, my Lords, work is being done on the potential effects of environmental changes, including changes in water levels. The various government departments, particularly government agencies, are looking at the matter with care. The noble Lord will know that the response to an issue can be extremely sensitive, as a current issue in Devon is proving. It is extremely important that we look at such issues and do all that we can to mitigate any damaging effects, as well as seeking to tackle the causes, which is what lies behind the initial Question of the noble Lord, Lord Taverne.
Baroness Crawley: My Lords, the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War will be commemorated on 10 July 2005, incorporating the anniversaries of the cessation of hostilities in Europe and the Far East. Planning is at an early stage, but it will be an occasion of reflection for all who were involved in the war. A broad spectrum of British and overseas guests will be invited to attend, including such eminent persons as His Majesty King Michael of Romania.
Lord Mowbray and Stourton: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for giving the good news that at last there will be recognition of what King Michael has done. At the risk of pushing my luck, I wish to add that he did so well by us when he was 20, some 60 years ago; for instance, he managed to get all prisoners of war out of Romania. The Germans tried to hoist them back to Germany, but all that was stopped through King Michael. He was one of the few people who helped to destroy his own countrythe oil wellsfor the sake of the allies. I hope that the noble Baroness will confirm that I am right in saying that the United States, France and Russia, even at the special request of Stalin, all specially decorated him with
Baroness Crawley: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Mowbray, has every right to push his luck. So far as I am aware, no new medals or honours are being issued for World War II service; however, that does not mean that we do not recognise King Michael's very positive wartime role.
Baroness Crawley: My Lords, around 8,000 veterans will travel to Normandy this June. There will be several means of assisting veterans taking part in the D-day celebrations. For instance, free one-year passports will be available to veterans who do not hold a valid passport; there will be a 50 per cent reduction in P&O ferry costs for veterans groups; and the New Opportunities Fund, a lottery distributor, will put aside £7.8 million to assist veterans and their families to take part in the commemorative celebrations.
Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, is the Minster aware that no Wren or civilian working at Bletchley Park was given any form of honour? Recently, at the request of some of the few survivors, I was asked to write to the Prime Minister about the matter. In a reply signed by the Prime Minister, stating, as the Minister said, that it was too late, he also said that "Mr Turning"the name was spelt wronglywho in many ways was more responsible for winning the war two years earlier, was awarded an OBE. Big deal, my Lords.
Baroness Crawley: My Lords, there will be no further honours or medals for service in the Second World War. Of course, code breakers and other organisations and individuals, who will be invited to the commemorative events on 10 July 2005, will be recognised through those invitations.
Lord Russell-Johnston: My Lords, reverting to the original Question, does the Minister agree that despite the good intentions of the noble Lord, Lord Mowbray, there is no evidence that Her Majesty's Governmenteither this one or the previousdo not other than recognise what King Michael did, both in 1944 and 1947? When he promoted Romania's entry into NATO in 1997, for example, he was received by the Queen. The Government will not forget that he defended democracy and it is worth recognising that.
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