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I recognise what my noble friend said about looking forward as against looking back, but the Monetary Policy Committee looks forward. Indeed, there are circumstances in which we accept the decisions of an independent committee whose function is to look forward. My noble friend said that Parliament’s influence would be reduced. I dispute that, because in the event that Parliament did not approve the decisions of the Government or their recommendations to Parliament, Parliament would have the right to vote on the climate change committee’s recommendation or decision. That is a substantial additional power. My noble friend referred to the procedural limitations, but the reality is that it is wrong, and if officials in the department thought that, they would look more closely at my amendment, which would give substantially more power to Parliament to decide.

My noble friend raised the very interesting issue of the debate behind closed doors, which I had not thought about and which needs further consideration. My preliminary view of that is that there is a suggestion that people on the climate change committee would compromise on what they really believed in behind closed doors with government in the knowledge that their acceptance of a consensus view might not stand the test of time and might turn out to be an error. They might as a committee be completely convinced by a position, but my noble friend is suggesting that they might be inclined to compromise with government behind closed doors. The credibility and integrity of people on that committee are such that it is far more likely that they will stand their ground on issues on which they believe that their personal credibility as scientists evaluating the science in this area is involved.

I have listened to my noble friend and heard what he has to say. I know that others will pursue this debate further, I am indebted to my noble friend and to the House for putting up with me referring to this issue repeatedly throughout the stages of the Bill, and on that basis I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 140 not moved.]

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 141:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Teverson moved Amendment No. 142:

“( ) whether Government policies and programmes will result in the meeting of current and future carbon budgets,”

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 142, I shall also speak to Amendment No. 159. Both amendments deal with the boundary between what the climate change committee should do, advise or have executive power over and what the domain of government should be. There is an important role for the climate change committee, as an independent advisory body, in looking forward and making a technical assessment of whether government policies and programmes of the time will meet proposed carbon budgets of the current period in its annual reports.

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This is a particularly important area for the climate change committee, because in many ways all that it does under the Bill is to advise on carbon budgets and now, we hope, on adaptation as well.

But there is the very important, independent audit role—not a political role—of assessing whether government programmes and policies as they are will mean that those budgets and future targets will be met. That is not a politicised issue because it is not up to the Committee on Climate Change to decide on those budgets, because that has already been decided. Nor is it the role of the committee to decide what policy adjustments are needed to get to those targets. It is an early-warning, objective look by an important body to see and to report—it is open to the public and to Parliament—and to assess whether the Government’s policies are likely to be successful in meeting the targets that they have agreed should be set.

We feel strongly that these amendments are still important. I note with some satisfaction that government Amendment No. 157 gets pretty close to my amendment. I was very pleased to see that they have moved in this direction. However, these amendments are significantly better and I hope that the Government will respond to them positively. I beg to move.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, we have tabled our own amendments to a similar effect, which we think provide a slightly better way of achieving a similar goal. While having the utmost sympathy with the spirit of these amendments, we cannot support them as wholeheartedly as perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, had hoped. None the less, I look forward to the Minister’s response because these amendments touch on important issues.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): My Lords, it is fair to say that we have sympathy with the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Teverson. The Government have tabled a number of amendments to strengthen the Bill’s accountability framework and the role of the committee. We have already discussed a number of these and we will come to government Amendments Nos. 157 and 171 shortly, which I believe are forward looking as well as reviewing progress.

Amendment No. 142 seems to ask the committee, at the same time as providing its advice on budgets, to assess whether the Government are on track to meet them. Amendment No. 159 proposes an identical requirement through the committee’s annual progress report. I am not sure why the committee is being asked to provide this assessment twice, although I understand the noble Lord’s motivation. We are talking about doing this, possibly, within six months. We therefore think that under Clause 27 the committee should focus on advising on the most appropriate level of carbon budgets needed to achieve the long-term targets. We should remember that this advice is to be given at least 11 years before the beginning of the relevant budget period. The committee’s annual progress report is the best place for these assessments to be made.

In any case, I believe that the Government Amendments Nos. 157 and 171 to be discussed shortly provide the reassurance that is sought through Amendments Nos.

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142 and 159. I think that the noble Lord recognises that we are listening to his concerns and I hope that will consider withdrawing his amendment on that basis.

Lord Teverson: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her response and I welcome her back to the Climate Change Bill. I am very pleased to see her. Obviously, she is extremely persuasive because I believe that this area is of great importance and I certainly would have wanted to take the opinion of the House. Given the significant movement represented by the Government’s amendments—I also look forward to hearing the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, on the Conservative amendments—I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.15 pm

Lord Taylor of Holbeach moved Amendment No. 143:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment is very simple and I do not believe that it will find much opposition as the Government have tabled their own amendment with a similar intention. Indeed, I am surprised that the Government did not adopt this amendment and I shall be interested to know why. This amendment changes the section regarding the advice given to the Secretary of State by the committee on sectors of the economy.

The Bill places a duty on the committee to advise on the respective contributions towards meeting the carbon budget made by sectors covered by trading schemes. But for some reason, the Bill includes the caveat, “as a whole”. Why does the Minister want sectors of the economy taken as a whole? Would he elucidate on what form this advice is supposed to take? Our amendment changes this caveat to say,

because the only real benefit of looking at sectoral contributions is if they can be viewed individually and as a whole. Thus I hope that the Minister will explain the reason for including his amendment and will consider, perhaps at Third Reading, revising this clause to reflect that the committee should give advice, if it deems it necessary, on the contributions of sectors to the budget, both individually and as a whole. I beg to move.

Lord Teverson: My Lords, this amendment makes complete sense, as the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, has said. Whether we are the fourth or the sixth largest economy in the world—it depends on how one counts comparative purchase power—the non-EU ETS sector is some 48 per cent of our economy. I remind the House that everyone is very clear that we do not want a rigid, five-year sectoral planning system that harks back to the failed days of the Soviet Union. We are talking about greater transparency in how the Committee on Climate Change and the Government will make their decisions, and how they might affect individual sectors, which is useful for tracking

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progress and whether the targets are being met. It is much too large to do that in just two sectors—the EU ETS and, I presume, the carbon reduction commitment sector, and the rest of the economy. I am assuming here also, and I shall be interested in the Minister’s response, that due to the detailed level of reporting in emissions trading schemes—both the European one and the proposed CRC—there will be a natural breakdown available of that 52 per cent to 60 per cent of the economy. Certainly, as the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, has said, it would be very strange if we had one figure just for the remaining 40 per cent. We are talking about understanding these issues and movements in a great deal more detail.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, we discussed Amendment No. 143 in Committee and I have not got a lot more to add to what was said then. We had a discussion on sectoral targets on the first day of Report, including on government Amendment No. 144. It would ensure that the Committee on Climate Change’s advice to the Secretary of State on the level of each carbon budget considers the sectors of the economy in which there are particular opportunities for contributions to be made towards meeting the carbon budget.

Let me put it on the record that we consider that, in providing its advice under Clause 27 concerning the contribution of trading schemes taken as a whole, it is highly likely that the Committee on Climate Change will need to consider the contribution that should be made in each sector covered by the individual trading schemes. Clause 27 requires the committee to publish its advice on budgets, including its reasons for this advice, but we think it would be overly restrictive to specifically require the committee to recommend the cap for each individual trading scheme as part of its advice on carbon budgets, which would be the result of this amendment. That is a policy-making role and, as we have discussed previously, we do not believe the committee should have a role on individual policies. For the reasons we have set out previously, we think this would politicise the committee’s work.

The danger with Amendment No. 143 is that it comes very close to a situation where the Committee on Climate Change would be given a mandatory role in considering individual policies. For its advice to be credible the committee has got to work outside the political arena and, therefore, outside decision-making on particular policy mechanisms. We do not want the committee to become involved in the nitty-gritty of policy decisions on ranges of issues in different sectors, whether home insulation, domestic boilers, wind farms and so on. All these are matters for the Government, who are held accountable by Parliament and the people for their decisions.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. To some degree our amendments arise out of a belief that the sectors are going to be important contributors to our success on climate change, so to be able to include them fully in the process is extremely important. I take some comfort from the fact that government Amendment No. 144 recognises this. Given that situation, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 144:

( ) the sectors of the economy in which there are particular opportunities for contributions to be made towards meeting the carbon budget for the period through reductions in emissions of targeted greenhouse gases.”

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 145 to 150 not moved.]

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 151:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Teverson moved Amendment No. 152:

(a) the preparation of, and the adequacy of, any programme under section 49 to address the risks identified in the most recent report under section 48;(b) the contribution of the objectives, proposals and policies mentioned in section 49(1) to sustainable development;(c) any assessment for the second and each subsequent programme of the progress made towards implementing those objectives, proposals and policies set out in earlier programmes as required by section 49(3); and(d) the need for directions by the Secretary of State to a reporting authority under section 52.”

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 153 to 155 not moved.]

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 156:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 28 [Reports on progress]:

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin moved Amendment No. 157:

(a) the progress that has been made towards meeting the carbon budgets that have been set under Part 1 and the target in section 1 (the target for 2050),(b) the further progress that is needed to meet those budgets and that target, and(c) whether those budgets and that target are likely to be met.”

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, we have already discussed similar issues in relation to Amendments Nos. 142 and 159. As I said then, Amendments Nos. 157 and 171 provide the reassurances sought here. They also address the concerns behind Amendments Nos. 160 and 163, which we will discuss next.

I am also mindful of our discussion of Amendment No. 22, which was proposed by the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, and the noble Lord, Lord Crickhowell, for a compliance mechanism to be included in the Bill. At the time we explained why we believed that government Amendment No. 81 would work better. Part of the

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reason for this is that the Bill’s other provisions for annual accountability, with the addition of government Amendments Nos. 157 and 171, remove the need for yet another layer of annual processes as proposed in Amendment No. 22.

It may be helpful if I can briefly recap on the Bill’s relevant provisions as context for the amendments in this group and in further illustration of why we do not think that Amendment No. 21 is needed. Before I explain the approach we have taken in government Amendments Nos. 157 and 171, it would be useful to get this on the record at this stage.

For each budget period the Secretary of State must publish proposals and policies for meeting each budget. Government amendments now agreed by this House also require the Secretary of State to publish an indicative annual statement setting out the progress expected in each year of the budgetary period, together with the timescales over which policies are expected to take effect. There will be maximum transparency about the progress expected, both on policies and on our emission reduction trajectory, throughout the budgetary period. I honestly do not see what further information could be provided on this. That is looking forward.

Clause 12 requires the Government to publish, for every year of the budget period, a detailed emissions statement. This will set out the facts on how much progress is being made. Every year the Committee on Climate Change will lay a progress report before Parliament under Clause 28 which will give the committee’s views on the progress being made towards meeting the budgets and the 2050 target, and then the Government must respond under Clause 29. So if there are any concerns about progress during the budget period, there are already extremely strong mechanisms to make sure that they are identified at an early stage and reported quickly and transparently to the public and to Parliament.

I turn to government Amendments Nos. 157 and 171. Amendment No. 157 adds further specifications to what must be included in the committee’s annual report under Clause 28. If the amendment is agreed to, the report must refer to progress made so far towards meeting the targets and budgets, to progress that remains to be made and whether, in the committee’s view, the targets and budgets are likely to be met. In making this assessment the committee will of course be able to use the information provided in the Government’s plan for meeting budgets and the timescale for expected progress.

Amendment No. 157 builds on this by requiring that the Government’s annual response to the committee’s progress report under Clause 29 would be specifically required to respond to the points made by the committee. That is very important from the noble Lord’s point of view. This will ensure that Parliament is better able to hold the Government to account for progress. Therefore, if the Government are off-track in any particular year towards meeting the overall budget, it will be quite clear from both the emissions figures and the committee’s assessment, and the Government’s response to the committee’s assessment will need to be comprehensive.

Government Amendments Nos. 157 and 171 substantially strengthen this part of the Bill. An additional

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requirement to publish a preliminary action plan, as proposed in Amendment No. 22, would be an unnecessary duplication of the Bill’s existing provisions, particularly with the addition of these government amendments. I beg to move.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, it is pleasing that the Government have recognised the need to make changes to the Bill’s reporting provisions. Prior to these amendments, the Bill did not have a dynamic and thorough reporting procedure. By this I mean that it did not have a mechanism to take into account the nature of the progress made. Although the Government seem to have finally diagnosed the problem, to some degree their solutions are unsatisfactory.

It is good to have an explicit recognition in the Bill that the report will include what needs to be done and a statement on whether the targets will be met. Indeed, we hope that this will include an assessment of the effectiveness of the action; it implies such an assessment in any case. However, we think it important that the report on progress should examine not only the likelihood of meeting the targets but also the actions that have been, and are being, taken to meet them. That is a crucial difference.

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