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One piece of evidence to emerge from that conference was from the polling of 18 to 34 year-olds, which had indicated that they had no intention of reducing the amount of flying that they did, compared to that done by their elders and betters, and, therefore, were not initially instantly going to modify their behaviour. A briefing sent by the British Youth Council to all Members of your Lordships’ House in advance of Second Reading, which it reinforced thereafter, said that the target figure should be 80 per cent. That indicates a discrepancy. I acknowledge that the British Youth Council goes up only to the age of 24 and that its members are younger than the 18 to 34 year-old group, but there is a discrepancy in attitude to behaviour and attitude to aspirational targets. We are more likely to achieve our ultimate objective if we seek to change behaviour and to demonstrate it during the evolution of this policy, rather than if we put it in the Bill now and do not wait for the Committee on Climate Change to give us its advice. In those circumstances, I hope that the willingness of the nation to adjust its behaviour will be more likely to occur.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, referred to a “brave” decision. I do not think that we should be taking brave decisions. We need to take action to change people’s behaviour, but

25 Feb 2008 : Column 473

they have to be given a reason for it. With all due respect to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, putting 80 per cent in the Bill, whether in this or another place, is not sufficient to explain meaningfully the changes in the way people will have to live. I will give some financial examples in a moment. The Committee on Climate Change will probably be much better placed than this House to explain the reasons for decisions. This is the same amendment that we had earlier; the arguments are the same, save that we now have the membership of the climate change committee.

The level of the 2050 target will have implications for all sectors of the economy and at all levels of society. We have probably not spelt those out sufficiently here. The Stern report went some way towards doing it, but the Committee on Climate Change will be able to do a lot more on that. It is therefore imperative that work considering the level at which the target should be set considers a wide range of issues. The terms of reference by which the committee will conduct this review demonstrate the breadth of the issues that will be considered. Moving to another number, namely 80, ahead of the review, on the basis of a limited analysis, would not be appropriate. We are setting up the Committee on Climate Change to do this job, which is why we have tabled government Amendment No. 121, which we will come to later. This will probably be a theme of Report stage. Amendment No. 121 will place the review by the Committee on Climate Change on a statutory footing and set clear, legally binding deadlines, by which this review must be reported.

Placing the committee’s review in statute, as our amendment proposes, sends a strong signal that, while the Government understand that a reduction of 60 per cent may no longer be a sufficient level of effort for developed-world countries, it is absolutely essential that we base decisions on the level of the 2050 target on the best possible independent, and most up-to-date, advice. The terms of reference set out exactly what the committee will be expected to consider: all the relevant evidence to provide a thorough analytical study of the level of the 2050 target. We cannot do this in debates in this House or the other place. Until the expert committee has carried out its review, it would be premature to change that target to 80 per cent or, indeed, any other number.

These are big issues with serious implications, which is why I emphasise the use by the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, of the word “brave.” The Defra analysis, published alongside this Bill, suggested that a 60 per cent target could cost 0.7 per cent of GDP in 2050, while an 80 per cent reduction could cost between 1.1 and 2.6 per cent of GDP in 2050, depending on the assumed level of future technological change, fossil fuel prices and the availability of particular technologies. This is only an initial analysis. These are exactly the kind of questions that the Committee on Climate Change will need to look at. It demonstrates the seriousness of the issue. Someone has to explain that you must change the way you live and work. It is much better that this should come from the advice of the Committee on Climate Change to Government, and then through Parliament, than from us simply putting in another number because the message is that at least 60 per cent is not sufficient and we ought to do the

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committee’s job for it. It is a fairly fundamental choice: get the evidence, take the decisions and explain them; or decide now and get the evidence later. The explaining process of the Committee on Climate Change will be absolutely fundamental. The former is probably the better approach, which is why I sincerely hope that the noble Lord will not press his amendment today.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, before the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, responds, perhaps I may say that after 30 years in Parliament it requires very considerable skill to make a speech which is intended to be helpful to the Government but causes the Minister to believe that I am on the other side. Nevertheless, I shall read my speech again and see whether I was actually trying to help him.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I do not want to quibble, but the last six or seven words from the noble Lord threw me completely as to which side he is on.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, the Minister will probably guess that I am certainly not on his side on this issue. I was interested in how the Minister set out the way that the committee is going to have explain climate change—as if the Committee on Climate Change will be the only body in the country doing that. The committee will be an important body, but it will not be the only one. In fact, vast numbers of other bodies have talked about climate change. The Stern review examined it, we have the UN panels, and of course all the scientific evidence is looking at 80 per cent.

I like government Amendment No. 121 because I think it will achieve one of the objectives. However, it is almost a bit much for the Minister to say that while the Government will base the level on the science, Amendment No. 121 will make sure that the climate committee comes up with the figure straightaway, so everything will be all right. We are a scrutinising Chamber. To say that it is quite acceptable to go for a figure we know is going to be changed is in fact unacceptable. On that basis, those noble Lords who care about the scrutiny of this legislation and do not want it to be weak in any way should not see this as a political manoeuvre—there are no politics in this because all sides of the House are looking at the science—because there is nothing to be gained from specifying either 60 or 80 per cent. But I believe that this should be on the face of the Bill and on that basis, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

5.31 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 3) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 53; Not-Contents, 150.


Division No. 2


CONTENTS

Addington, L. [Teller]
Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, L.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Bradshaw, L.


25 Feb 2008 : Column 475

Chidgey, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dykes, L.
Falkland, V.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Fearn, L.
Garden of Frognal, B.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Jay of Ewelme, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Neuberger, B.
Northbourne, L.
Northover, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Rowe-Beddoe, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L. [Teller]
Smith of Clifton, L.
Southwark, Bp.
Steinberg, L.
Teverson, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tonge, B.
Tordoff, L.
Tyler, L.
Waddington, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.

NOT CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Adams of Craigielea, B.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B. [Lord President.]
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Bilston, L.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Brett, L.
Bridges, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookman, L.
Butler-Sloss, B.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carter of Coles, L.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Corston, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Darzi of Denham, L.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dearing, L.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
D'Souza, B.
Elder, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Elystan-Morgan, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Ford, B.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greengross, B.
Griffiths of Burry Port, L.
Grocott, L.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jones, L.
Jones of Birmingham, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
Jordan, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kinnock, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McDonagh, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Mitchell, L.
Monson, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Moonie, L.


25 Feb 2008 : Column 476

Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Murphy, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Palmer, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Patel of Bradford, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prosser, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Quin, B.
Radice, L.
Ramsbotham, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B. [Teller]
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Snape, L.
Soley, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Tenby, V.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnbull, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Vadera, B.
Vinson, L.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
West of Spithead, L.
Whitaker, B.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

5.42 pm

Lord Taylor of Holbeach moved Amendment No. 4:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 4 is grouped with a series of government amendments. Our amendment seeks to place a duty on the Committee on Climate Change to propose a new 2050 target within six months. This is a straightforward transfer of responsibility from the political to the scientific. The proposal would still be subject to approval by Parliament and thus there is no concern about a democratic deficit or about handing too much power over to bodies outside Parliament. It simply places the recommending power where it should be with those who know how to do it.

The Government have obviously noticed that there is a problem with this aspect of the Bill. There needs to be a larger role for the committee in regard to scientific issues. However, in our view, the Government’s amendments do not go far enough and still leave the ultimate decision regarding the target in the hands of the Secretary of State. Their amendments place a duty on the committee to advise the Secretary of State. In our view, this is too weak. Under the Government’s scheme, the Committee on Climate Change will give

25 Feb 2008 : Column 477

its advice on the new targets and publish it. The Secretary of State will then lay a resolution before Parliament to change the target percentages or, if he chooses, he can foolishly ignore the advice entirely. The Government’s amendments rely on the Secretary of State not being so foolish as to ignore the advice. While I hope he would not, there still seems to be scope for him to do so.

Much of the Bill deals with setting out the framework for policies. Our amendments are part of an attempt to beef-up the role of the committee. I have asked that some of these policies and orders be subject to the committee’s scrutiny. We have no interest in cutting out the Government and replacing them with an all-party, oligarchic committee. Ministers get advice from all kinds of committees and departments, much of which is published. At the end of the day, the public perception is that these are ministerial decisions. We want to avoid this perception. By placing the burden of target setting on the committee we ensure that the 2050 target is not only genuinely authoritative but that it appears to be so. A Minister agreeing with the committee’s advice and proposing precisely what it recommends does not possess the same degree of authority.

In practice, all of this might not matter tremendously under the Government’s amendments. We appreciate the Government heeding the advice of the House on the need for an increased role for the committee. Their amendments are a step in the right direction. With their amendments, ideally the Minister will follow exactly the published advice of the committee; our target will be more robust and, more importantly, scientifically validated. If this is what the Government truly have in mind, it seems strange that they were not willing to go that extra mile, be a little more courageous and pass the job of setting the targets more fully into the hands of the committee. I beg to move.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, my noble friend’s amendment and the government amendments go a long way towards meeting the concerns of the Joint Committee. Although I like my noble friend’s amendment, I am quite attracted by the Government’s amendment. My noble friend’s amendment seeks to place a duty on the committee to recommend to the Secretary of State within six months of its constitution, whereas the Government’s amendments seem to establish a rolling programme for the committee to advise the Secretary of State and there may well be further changes in due course. If my noble friend’s amendment was amended to be a rolling one, I would give it my wholehearted support.

Lord Teverson: My Lords, setting targets is now very much up to the Committee on Climate change. On the whole, we on these Benches prefer the Government’s amendments in terms of the balance between the committee, the Government and Parliament. We believe that ultimately it is up to the Government to put proposals to Parliament. We hope that the advice of the Committee on Climate Change will seldom be changed or ignored; that is why the publication requirements we shall come on to later are so important. We certainly support the Government’s amendments in this area.



25 Feb 2008 : Column 478

Baroness Byford: My Lords, I support my noble friend’s amendment. Earlier in our debates, the Minister clearly identified that the committee would have an important role once it was up and running and that it should not only be up to the Government to sell the Bill to members of the public, whose support we need to gain for it to work effectively. In reflecting upon my noble friend’s amendment, does the Minister accept that it seeks to put a duty on the committee within six months—it could be sooner but obviously within a six month period—to set a new target and recommend it to the Government?

It is difficult having the government amendments within this group because the Minister will not speak to them until we have sat down, and we cannot come back to him in the same way that we can in Committee. I would be grateful if the Minister would tell us more about his amendment at this stage and how he sees the difference between my noble friend’s amendments and the government amendments. If it is left until we come to, let us say, Amendment No. 121, in its proper slot at Report stage, my understanding from past experience is that the Minister will move it formally and we will not debate it. If history has moved on since I took my last Bill through and I am wrong, I will not be so anxious. However, I am anxious that we should have a chance to debate the Minister’s amendments within this grouping before we find ourselves in a position where we cannot question the Minister directly.

At this stage, I would like to place on record my support for my noble friend’s Amendment No. 4, and I shall listen with interest to hear what the Minister has to say about his amendments in this group.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I will do my best within the rules of the House to answer any questions as they come up. As he is moving Amendment No. 4, the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, will have the last word on this debate anyway. I will speak to that amendment. Basically, we do not like it, because it cuts the Government out completely. We did not use these words, but, to be honest, it is doing exactly what we said we were opposed to: giving the climate change committee an executive function. That is, root and branch, what we are opposed to; it should have an advisory function. We are sympathetic to the aims of the amendment, as indicated by the group of amendments we have tabled. If I may be a bit nitpicky, Amendment No. 4 does not address the consequential issues of carrying out the review, which the government amendments do—but then I have probably got a bigger team than the Opposition. The central issue, however, is that the amendment would cut the Government out.

I will explain the Government’s amendments in some detail. As I indicated earlier in the debate on the 2050 target, we have tabled amendments that will place a review of the 2050 target by the Committee on Climate Change on a statutory footing. That will improve the transparency of the process, and I understand that it will be welcomed as evidence that we have delivered on what we promised in this respect.

25 Feb 2008 : Column 479

The Prime Minister announced that the committee’s review of the 2050 target should consider whether it should be tightened up to 80 per cent. We have committed to ensure that the review will take place as soon as possible, and the committee should report at the same time as it produces its advice on the level of the first three budgets. Government Amendment No. 121 delivers on both those promises, and actually goes significantly further by making the review statutory—that is, a legally binding obligation.

Last week, we published the terms of reference for the review, which add further transparency to the whole process by showing exactly what we want the committee to consider. The terms of reference make clear that the climate change committee will consider important associated issues including the impact on the 2020 target, whether the target should be extended to cover all greenhouse gases and the implications of including international aviation and international shipping emissions. We debated all those issues at various stages in Committee. I hope, therefore, that this shows we were in listening mode, in that we specifically want the climate change committee to look at these issues. That will allow us to take decisions on the level of the 2050 target, based on the best possible independent advice. As I have said, we do not consider it appropriate to pre-empt the outcome of the review by putting the different target in the Bill now, as proposed in Amendment No. 3.

I turn to Amendments Nos. 19, 151, 164, 172 and 173. As I mentioned, the other amendments in this group address the consequential issues relating to the timing of the committee’s first budget advice, its first progress report and the government response, and the guidance and directions clauses of the Bill. Following discussion with the shadow Committee on Climate Change—because there has been a shadow secretariat there for some time—we believe that December 2008 is a realistic timetable for the committee to complete its review of the 2050 target. That has a number of knock-on effects. It makes sense for the committee to give its advice on the first three budgets at the same time as its advice on the 2050 target, so Amendment No. 151 delays the committee’s advice on budgets for three months; that is, from September this year to December this year. It is a three-month extension to the deadline in the Bill as currently drafted. We do not consider that to be an inappropriate delay, and it will give the committee enough time to complete its work.

As the committee’s advice on the first budgets will be three months later, government Amendment No. 19 also extends the deadline by which the Government must set the first three budgets by the same length of time, to 1 June 2009. That ensures that the Government have as much time as previously proposed—that is, six months—to consider the committee’s advice, consult the devolved Administrations and set the carbon budgets. Because the Government will not set the first budgets until June 2009, it makes no sense to ask the Committee on Climate Change to produce its first progress report in the same month. Government Amendment No. 164 extends the deadline for the committee’s progress report, and Amendments Nos. 172 and 173 extend the deadline for the Government’s response.



25 Feb 2008 : Column 480

I assure your Lordships that those proposals are there purely to reflect the proposed timing of the 2050 review, and would apply only to the first progress report and the first government response. Every future progress report by the committee and response by the Government would need to be published to the deadlines set out in Clauses 28 and 29 in the Bill as drafted.


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