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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 peoples behaviour, but
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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 committees 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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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 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 changeas 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 manoeuvrethere are no politics in this because all sides of the House are looking at the sciencebecause 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.
(1) It is the duty of the Committee to recommend to the Secretary of State within six months of its constitution a new target for the minimum percentage by which the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 must be lower than the 1990 baseline.
(2) It is the duty of the Secretary of State as soon as practicable after the making of a recommendation under subsection (1) to lay it before both Houses of Parliament and make a resolution for its approval.
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 Governments 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 Governments scheme, the Committee on Climate Change will give
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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 committees 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 committees 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 Governments 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 friends amendment and the government amendments go a long way towards meeting the concerns of the Joint Committee. Although I like my noble friends amendment, I am quite attracted by the Governments amendment. My noble friends amendment seeks to place a duty on the committee to recommend to the Secretary of State within six months of its constitution, whereas the Governments 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 friends 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 Governments 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 Governments amendments in this area.
Baroness Byford: My Lords, I support my noble friends 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 friends amendment, does the Minister accept that it seeks to put a duty on the committee within six monthsit could be sooner but obviously within a six month periodto 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 friends 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 Ministers 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 friends 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 dobut 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 Governments 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.
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The Prime Minister announced that the committees 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 statutorythat 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 committees 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 Changebecause there has been a shadow secretariat there for some timewe 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 committees 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 committees 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 proposedthat is, six monthsto consider the committees 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 committees progress report, and Amendments Nos. 172 and 173 extend the deadline for the Governments response.
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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