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Our amendment that was debated in Committee differs from the Liberal Democrat amendment in that the latter has a significant omissionthe economy. Including economic considerations is an important aspect if we are to appreciate the full extent of the impacts of policy. Our relationship with the environment and, indeed, that of populations all over the world, is very closely entwined with economic concerns, or perhaps more aptly, there is always an economic context which, understood and properly reported, could play an enormously beneficial role in the preservation of the environment and our fight against climate change. We cannot ignore a substantial factor that covers decision-making and we feel that this report should recognise that fact. Thus, we are immensely sympathetic to the concerns of this amendment and the arguments expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, but we believe that its scope could have been slightly wider. Will the Minister explain his approach to biodiversity? Does he feel that it should be part of the report?
Lord Jay of Ewelme: My Lords, I support the amendment. Like the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, I feel that biodiversity is not sufficiently recognised in the Bill. It is an aspect of climate change on which there is great public interest and therefore I believe that an amendment of this kind would have widespread public support. As I say, I support the amendment.
Lord Rooker: My Lords, it is incredibly unfair that the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, spoke to these amendments for less than a minute, whereas my response will make me sound like an old windbag as it will be considerably longer. These are amendments of substance. I am not criticising his response, but it is a shame that it took less than a minute because it will make me look as though I am speaking for too long. I shall deal with them in
On Amendment No. 194A, I reassure the House once again, as I hope I did in Committee, that the Government develop their policies and deliver their services within the overarching concept of sustainable development. As your Lordships know, we define sustainable development as living within environmental limits and achieving a just society by means of a
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Amendment No. 194A would insert a reference to the environment in relation to the risk report under Clause 48. As I have said, the report will be thorough and comprehensive. It will look at the risks from climate change, and the associated vulnerabilities to these risks for the United Kingdom, including risks to the environment, the economy and society. Amendment No. 194A focuses exclusively on the environment and does not give due consideration to social or economic impacts in the risk assessment.
We recognise that the natural environment provides economic and welfare benefits for human beings, as well as having an intrinsic value in itself. The natural environment will change as a result of climate change, and your Lordships can be reassured that adequate protection for the natural environment will underpin our efforts on both adaptation and mitigation. In developing the risk report in particular, we will draw on the environmental experts from the Environment Agency and Natural England, among others.
We think that it is better that the Secretary of State has a duty to assess all the risks for the United Kingdom, rather than having specific risks listed. As it stands, Clause 48(1) already requires an assessment of,
arising from climate change. That covers all potential risks, including those factors proposed in the amendments, and therefore the provision is already as wide as it could possibly be. For example, where would the risks to the built environment fit within Amendment No. 194A, and what about the wider important issues, such as the opportunities from climate change and the roles and responsibilities of organisations? If we list some factors, we leave ourselves open to having to list everything, which is not possible given the wide-ranging effects. Under Amendment No. 194A, we might end up focusing too much on some things at the expense of others. I do not know what the amendment adds to existing powers.
I shall jump to Amendment No. 200. The amendment would not have any notable effect as it asks that the objectives of the Governments adaptation programme take into account the risks identified under Clause 48. But the last line of Clause 49(1) already requires that the programme, as a whole, addresses,
I was asked specifically about biodiversity. The Government have already established an adaptation workstream, as part of the England biodiversity strategy, to promote adaptation of relevant policies and programmes in all relevant sectors, including agriculture, forestry, water management and land use planning. The workstream is developing a set of adaptation principles, which will be adopted across all sectors where those implementing conservation management will use them to plan what actions they wish to take to help the natural world adapt to climate change.
We seek win-win situations that deliver benefits for biodiversity as well as allowing for mitigation and enabling adaptation in other sectors. Where those solutions are not possible we need to minimise negative impacts on biodiversity, so we are aware of that where we cannot get the win-win solutions. On behalf of the UK Biodiversity Partnership, Defra published practical guidance on adaptation for nature conservation in a changing climate in May last year, entitled Conserving Biodiversity in a Changing Climate. That sets out six guiding principles for those who plan and deliver conservation of terrestrial biodiversity. We are aware of the issue and, we hope, are on the case.
Amendment No. 201 suggests including a more detailed definition of adaptation in the Bill. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change currently uses the definition suggested. As I said in Committee, we have not defined adaptation within the Bill because we do not think it necessary to do so. The Oxford English Dictionary defines adaptation as,
That seems to us to be perfectly adequate. The Government also believe that the ordinary meaning of adaptation is clear and simple and see no need to introduce new definitions within a legislative context.
Although the IPCCI hate saying thatthe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes definition is a recognisable definition, and we are not disputing its validity, the danger of having more than one definition of an ordinary word is that it can change the focus in ways which are not necessarily helpful. Taking into account both the threats and opportunities presented by climate change is already covered by the ordinary meaning of adaptation. If we include this extra definition in the Bill, how do we know that the intergovernmental panel will not update its definition of adaptation between now and 2050, although it beggars belief that we will not come to amend this Bill before 2050 for other reasons? I say that but I do not place great weight on that point.
We are, however, prepared to offer as a political commitment that we will refer to the IPCCs definition of adaptation within the statutory guidance under Clause 51. We intend to consult on the guidance when the UK Climate Impacts Programme scenarios are released later this year, and following that process we will have a better idea of what organisations will be using the guidance that we will be seeking and what would be most useful for them. So it would be used in the context of the guidance, but it does not make sense to transpose it into the Bill.
Baroness Byford: My Lords, the Minister referred to the adaptation report, which came out in May 2007. Presumably, much of that work was done before the climate changes that we experienced last year. I think the Minister will accept that there is enormous pressure on the balance between being able to produce enough food and having food security and the interests of biodiversity and the longer term. I wonder whether the Government have had a review of that document since then, reflecting on the changes
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Lord Rooker: My Lords, I do not know, but I suspect and hope that the answer is no; otherwise we are spending loads of time in committees on Whitehall. That document was published last May, which is less than 12 months ago. It set out guiding principles for those who plan and deliver conservation of terrestrial biodiversity. It summarised the current thinking on how to reduce the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and how to adapt existing plans and projects in the light of climate change. With less than 12 months since the publication of those guiding principles, I suspect that it has not been reviewed because it has not been found necessary to do so.
Biodiversity and ecology are different from the social and economic issues. Clearly, they all have to be taken into consideration. There are huge lobbies and huge areas of government policy on the economy and the social infrastructure of the country for those to be taken fully into account without writing them into the legislation. I do not think that is the case for biodiversity. That is not in any way a criticism of the Governments awareness and continued efforts in that area, but it is something that needs to be in the Bill, and it needs to be emphasised in this area. We have cut down all the other references to it and therefore it is essential that an area such as biodiversity, which is very much under the radar screen in public understanding and probably in general administrative understanding, should be there. On that basis, I should like to test the opinion of the House.
(1) It is the duty of the Secretary of State to lay reports before Parliament containing an assessment of the progress made towards implementing the objectives, proposals and policies set out in the programmes laid before Parliament under section 49.
(3) It is the duty of the forum to produce a report advising the Secretary of State, in relation to each budgetary period, on the impact of each sector of the economy, including transport, manufacturing and services, of meeting the carbon budget for that period.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Bill, for reasons that I will adduce, is like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. Filling the gap, which I believe is well within the Bills scope, would link the carbon budget to budgets in the more usual sense of that word. My amendment concerns the price tag and the means of delivery of these carbon targets. Ministers have two options. One is to deploy whatever arguments are necessary to prove to their satisfaction that it is the wrong amendment, on the wrong Bill, at the wrong time. But as events unfold, I am more and more certain that it is only a matter of time before the principle is accepted as an essential, umbilically linked part of the carbon budgeting at the heart of this Bill.
The second alternative, which I would prefer, is to accept it as an idea whose time has come. This leads to my second main point, which follows inexorably from the first. It is the case for a degree of hypothecation. In other words, a system whereby people can see how carbon taxation moneywhen I say carbon taxation money, I am referring here and throughout my speech to taxation and related instrumentsis being spent successfully, passing carbon reduction milestones on the road map at the right time. Politically, in my opinion, this is a no-brainerbut there has been some temporary switching off of brains in HMG on this so far. However, it is only a matter of time before it is brought forward and I would rather a Labour Government did it properly than someone else tried to do it after acrimonious discussion.
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