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However, would the amendment lead to the climate change committee, through its own authority, advising government on major policy issues on its own initiative? To my mind, it does not go that far, nor should it. The committee should be able to take on independent analysis around technical and important issues, but it should not use the proposed new clause, for instance, to say, “We believe that nuclear power is the only way to solve climate change”. That is not what the amendment is about; it is around intellectual rigour, around bringing items that are not otherwise evident to the notice of government. Its practical effect would be that the climate change committee became much more alive, and remained fit for purpose and an even greater asset to government in terms of their own policy-making.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I am in some ways reluctant to respond to the noble Lord, Lord Dearing, with the answers before me, because of the way in which he set out his stall. I was tempted to go down the road of a former Prime Minister on the issue of tuition fees, who said to me when I visited him, “We’re not going to get anywhere with this. It needs some committee, some Select Committee, some independent committee to come up with it, because if your lot propose it, we’ll oppose it; if we propose it, you’ll oppose it”. That was after I had been dismissed, of course, for making the proposal when I was a shadow spokesman. That works in practice in some ways.

However, I have good news. Clause 28 requires the climate change committee to lay an annual report on progress before Parliament. The committee has duties to provide advice on the level of carbon budgets, and to carry out a review of the level of the 2050 target before the end of the year. Clause 30, which I have already drawn attention to, contains a further duty to provide advice on request. Clause 31(1) states:

If I was being told, “You’re independent; you’re part of the great and the good; we want you to give robust, independent advice”, and I and colleagues on the committee were minded to say, “Hang on, these powers enable us to do something”, that would seem pretty wide to me. Clause 31(2) only gives some particulars, stating “in particular ... may”, but subsection (1) states:

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, I accept that there is a lovely blanket clause that could wrap up anything. On the particular item, it says that it may provide advice on request; in effect, excluding unrequested advice. If it said that the committee may provide advice, fine, but it says specifically that that advice must be given on request. To that extent the wording of the Bill excludes the possibility of

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unsolicited advice. That is my reading of the Bill and what I think has motivated the noble Lord, Lord Dearing, and what certainly motivates me to feel we have to open the thing up a bit.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, unsolicited advice in the sense of what my noble friend was asking for on daylight. I specifically emphasise in Clause 30 that the committee may do these things at the request of a national authority; for example, the Secretary of State or the devolved Administrations. However, when the committee comes to form its budgets, its advice and the targets—because that is its central purpose—it will clearly, as we have debated, commission and look at all kinds of work and research. It is up to the committee; it is not our job to second-guess it. I am not saying in this case that it would necessarily be the case of daylight hours—I have gone past that.

The noble Lord, Lord Dearing, raised a general issue. If the committee wants to do something it thinks is appropriate—in forming its advice to Government—not on policy but advice on the budgets, it is free to use these powers. It is not a free for all—no one is arguing that. It is constrained within its functions, as I have said, for the purpose of carrying out its functions. But its functions to give advice and to set those budgets are pretty widespread. This is an incredibly powerful committee to that extent.

I am not offering Clauses 30, 31 and 28 as an alternative and we do not need the provisions of the noble Lord, Lord Dearing. The things that the noble Lord, Lord Dearing, was getting at could well be facilitated by a combination of Clause 28 and Clause 30 maybe. But leave Clause 30 on one side if there is no request. The climate change committee has to be a self-starter and set in its parameters because obviously we do not want to overload it. The Government have requested it to do certain things as a priority. There is the issue of looking at the 60:80 target for a start.

We need to keep the issue clear and focused. The committee can only do things on request. In other words, it is not completely constrained as to what it can do by every measure and only receiving written requests from a national authority, Secretary of State or the devolved Administrations. If it thinks it necessary, as a result of carrying out its function, to give advice on very wide areas 50, 20 or 10 years ahead, it can do these other things. It is then up to it to say, “That is what we thought was appropriate to use”. That is why general ancillary powers are there. “General” means general; “ancillary” means extra; and “powers” means the powers.

So it is up to the committee to take cognisance of that. I can see circumstances where it might want to say, “We need to go beyond our function and commission some other work or carry out some other function”. It is not constrained by Clause 31. It can do anything it wants as long as it can link it to its functions. That is a perfectly reasonable response. So there is an opportunity for the committee to express its views on progress in tackling climate change. I do not think there will be any issue. It will be a high-profile committee in terms of media and the public perception, and very powerful in terms of its advice to Parliament.

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We have discussed the importance of insuring that the committee is adequately resourced to carry out its tasks. We have accepted that. I have already said that—speaking from memory—it should receive the same kind of servicing that the Stern report received. I approved of that. That is what I said originally. It will have the same kind of backup that the noble Lord, Lord Stern, and his team had. That is important.

At an operational level, the amendment could distract the committee from its key task and could be disproportionate and overburden the committee. It will have dedicated resources but it is not a completely free-for-all. In practical terms, the committee and the Government will have to agree a work programme because of making best use of its resources—and I have no doubt that Parliament will want to scrutinise those. Documents will be made public. Everyone will see what it is focusing its resources on. Its remit is to provide expert advice on the budgets and not to go beyond that. But I will only be repeating myself if I go down the road of making policy options on some of the issues raised.

I think that in many ways the noble Lord, Lord Dearing, goes too far in the way in which the proposal is set out—though not in relation to what he seeks to achieve: ensuring that the committee has freedom and common sense and that it touches the boundaries and deals with unpopular issues. The Committee on Climate Change will have to offer advice on some very difficult issues, and that might be unpopular. But it will be for the Government to formulate policies to put that advice into operation. The buck rightly stops with the Government, who are accountable to Parliament. We do not want to burden the climate change committee with being the centre of attention in the cockpit where we are discussing the way forward in implementing the budgets and advice it recommends.

9.30 pm

Lord Dearing: My Lords, I was finding the Minister very reassuring until the last few moments of his response when he went on to talk about the danger of the committee being distracted and the need to agree its work programme with the Government. He seemed to be saying that if the Government do not agree with what the committee desires, it will not be agreed.

I thank the Minister. He certainly showed understanding of what lay behind the amendment. He can see the need for the committee’s independence and went a long way towards assuring us that, one way or another, it had it. But in the light of his closing remarks I should like to reflect further on whether sufficient has been offered and whether we shall want to return to this on Third Reading. Meanwhile, perhaps I may ask the Minister whether he can go some way on Third Reading towards responding. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 31 [General ancillary powers]:

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 178:

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 33 [Powers to give guidance]:

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 179:

“( ) section (Advice on level of 2050 target) (advice on level of 2050 target),”

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 34 [Powers to give directions]:

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 180:

“( ) section (Advice on level of 2050 target) (advice on level of 2050 target),”

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 181 and 182 not moved.]

Clause 36 [Trading schemes]:

The Duke of Montrose moved Amendment No. 183:

The noble Duke said: My Lords, if this were Committee stage I would say that this is a probing amendment. If your Lordships will put up with me, I shall speak to various questions around this issue without the actual wording that we put in the Bill.

The Minister explained in Committee that accepting the amendment as it was drafted would prevent UK-wide trading schemes as the Secretary of State would not have authority over the schemes in the devolved Administrations. I appreciate that point, and it is certainly not the goal of our amendment. However, we have retabled it because on consideration we still feel that there are some unanswered questions concerning devolution and trading schemes.

It is rather up in the air as to what will be in the Scottish climate change Bill. I gather that some of the ideas are currently out for consultation. Perhaps the Minister is being kept up to date on whether the basic proposals are on the same lines as we anticipate will be brought in under the carbon-reduction commitment, the one visible policy which would come in under the Bill we are now discussing. So far, I do not believe that the Scottish Administration expect to set up their own climate change committee. Is a good mechanism available whereby the good work that is done by the climate change committee here can be made readily available so that the Scots can evaluate what might be of use to them?

We have delved into the issue of national authority several times but there still seem to be remaining concerns. It would be interesting to know whether a trading scheme for the UK could apply all over the UK. Can the Minister give any indication whether this will come about? I suppose that the trading scheme would be beneficial to all parts of the country so there is no obvious reason, at the moment, why there might be disagreement.

Indeed, the devolved Administrations might be particularly affected, especially if in the future there are mechanisms to create carbon credits by certifying reductions. This means that other sorts of emissions

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reduction regulation, such as feed-in tariffs, might then become linked into trading schemes. Interestingly, one of the functions that is not devolved is energy, so feed-in tariffs might have to apply across the whole country. I know it is a slightly different issue but it might cause disagreement about trading scheme regulation in the future.

Feed-in tariffs, to take one example, might cause disagreement as some evidence suggests that they tend to promote certain types of geographically specific ways of reducing emissions which might favour one nation over another. For example, feed-in tariffs in Germany, together with planning law, tend to favour wind power and cause a concentration of development in the northern coastal states. A similar thing could happen in Scotland with hydroelectricity. If there were the opportunity to have emission reductions certified as tradable credits—an issue I will take up later—the trading schemes regulation becomes intimately linked into all manner of more local regulation and devolved issues.

The Minister has told the House that the devolved Administrations will be free to set their own schemes but that it might be necessary to have UK-wide regulation for trading schemes. How can we be assured that this will be the case if it is to be determined individually by the national authorities? It seems very open-ended and could lead to possible confusion.

The Minister said that he previously opposed this amendment because of a lack of sophistication in its drafting. Does he accept its intention? Would he consider bringing something forward at Third Reading to clear up the confusion regarding the direction of the trading schemes regulation? I beg to move.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I hope that I can clarify some of the points that were made in Committee. This amendment would give all the powers to make trading schemes under the Bill to the Secretary of State. He alone would be able to make UK-wide trading schemes using the powers; the powers in Part 3 would not be available to the other national authorities. I understand the intention behind Amendment No. 183—to ensure that a UK-wide approach only can be taken—but we think that it would create real problems in our relationship with the devolved Administrations and that it would not achieve its objectives.

The idea behind Part 3 is to allow each of the national authorities to make trading schemes within their competence, using the same set of powers, and to be able to work jointly together to do so. It is worth looking at the current position. At the moment, the Secretary of State has no power to make such trading schemes through secondary legislation, nor do the Welsh Ministers. The Scottish Parliament can make trading schemes within its competence in Scotland and the Northern Ireland Assembly can make trading schemes within its competence in Northern Ireland. Our aim is to have the same set of powers available to each of the national authorities without changing or upsetting the devolution settlements that are already in place. The whole idea is to enable joint trading schemes to be made in secondary legislation, which cannot be done at the present time.

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If this amendment were agreed to, the Secretary of State would be able to make UK-wide schemes on his own. However, the amendment would not take away any of the powers available to the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, so they could still introduce their own trading schemes in the areas that have already been devolved to them, which could possibly duplicate or cut across any trading schemes that the Secretary of State introduced under the amendment. It would be just as possible for us to end up with multiple trading schemes in the UK and there would be far greater potential for confusion and complexity. Moreover, any schemes would not be tied together by a single enabling power. I know that the noble Duke does not seek that, but that would be the consequence of the amendment.

We also do not think that it is sensible to have several new powers exercisable in the same legislative fields in different UK countries. That would cut across the devolution settlements that were drawn up following the referenda in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. It is not practically sensible, or necessary, for the UK Government to give the appearance, which is what it would be, of clawing back powers in this way.

We are putting in place firm foundations for joint trading schemes. The national authorities have agreed that this is the most sensible way forward—they agree with the Bill—and we continue to work closely together. For example, the carbon reduction commitment, which I mentioned in the debate on this issue in Committee, will be rolled out across the whole of the UK using these powers. That is a perfect example of how committed the national authorities are to working together within their powers to reduce emissions. Every country understands the desirability of having UK-wide schemes, because a bigger scheme with a wider market will ensure more liquidity and increase the likelihood of delivering more efficient emissions reductions as a result.

These powers in the Bill offer the best possible way to a solution. While I see where the noble Duke is coming from, I hope that the elaboration that I have given shows that we could end up with more difficulties regarding the devolution settlement and still not get joint emissions trading schemes, when I think that we would all agree that it is those schemes that are sensible.

The Duke of Montrose: My Lords, I thank the Minister for going into such detail, which has been immensely helpful. Having heard him explain in earlier stages how each of the Administrations would be totally independent, I found it rather difficult to see how a common scheme could be engineered. It is rather interesting to hear that the devolved Administrations are all prepared to accept the carbon reduction commitment when it is introduced. Obviously a certain amount of preparatory work has been done, because that is still somewhere down the line. I suppose that there could be a slip before it comes into place, but it is useful to know that the co-operation has been building up. The question that will remain is what will happen when the next scheme comes along. We would be

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interested to hear, if the Minister can find out, what reaction there will be on the feed-in tariffs to the electricity network and how that will work across the Administrations. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 183ZA:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a probing amendment. I apologise to the House for introducing it on Report. I confess that for the past two or three weeks, both my intestines and my brains have been somewhat addled by something that my doctors call the norovirus. My mental processes have perhaps not been as sharp as they should have been, hence the late arrival of the amendment.

This part of the Bill gives the relevant national authorities the power to make provision by regulations for trading schemes relating to greenhouse gas emissions. Of itself that is very worthy, and I have no difficulty with the proposal as it stands. My amendment is designed to put a framework on to that power to ensure that the limits of carbon emissions, on any of the schemes introduced under this part of the Bill, have to parallel the limits of reductions in emissions that are implied by the limits that might be created under Part 1.

There is a very simple reason why I am asking this question. The European Emissions Trading Scheme, which is so often held up as a wonderful example of how a trading scheme should work was, frankly, in its phase 1 persona, a total disaster. The political will to make the scheme effective simply was not there. Phase 1 of the scheme achieved virtually nothing, except to set up a suitable administration. I will give it that benefit. As far as reducing emissions was concerned, no, this was not the way to do it.

9.45 pm

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