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We will learn lessons from other countries. The feed-in tariffs for microgeneration that are due to come forward in April are a good example of where we have learnt from the experience of others. But I would say that this country has shown leadership. I mention the Climate Change Act 2008 itself, the offer that we encouraged Europe to put on the table at Copenhagen, the fact that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister was the first global leader to signal that he would be going to the summit, and that in offshore wind power we are the leading nation, a point to which I shall return later. I mention also wave and tidal, the introduction of smart meters, and our leading role in carbon capture and storage. I must admit that I am a little tired of hearing about the leadership position of the Germans. When you go to Germany, it is interesting to note that many Germans are deeply concerned about their energy policy and wish that they could have followed our decision in relation to new nuclear build. We need to be careful not to underestimate this country too much.
My noble friend Lord Giddens talked about the tremendous change in global attitudes and of the formidable challenges we face in this country. He is also absolutely right to say that the history of planning in this country in relation to energy has been nothing short of a disaster. But the changes that have been made in the Planning Act 2008 and the development of national policy statements, which is the subject of
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The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, made the important point that 2050 is the critical target date. I want to reiterate that we are working hard on the period 2030-50 and we hope to publish the results of that work next year, which I am sure will be the subject of a debate. However, he is right to stress the importance of this work.
The noble Lord, Lord Turnbull, went back to a point that we debated as the Climate Change Bill went through-what he described as the laying down of an unworkable duty on the Secretary of State in relation to the 80 per cent target by 2050. Again, I come back to him with carbon budgets. Because government departments have to take responsibility for emissions in their own sectors, I think that this is the way to drive forward change and why it is right that the Secretary of State accepts that responsibility.
I am not going to comment much on carbon price, although I understand the issue. It is our hope that the tightening of the cap, which has already been agreed, and the influence of Copenhagen, which we hope will bring Europe back to the table to discuss a tougher target for 2020, will have the necessary impact on carbon price. It is our preference to go down that route, but of course I understand how important this is for those who need to invest large sums of money over the next few years.
I pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Clark on his outstanding work as chair of the Forestry Commission, an appointment which I think comes to an end in 24 hours' time. He made very important points about the contribution that forestation and reforestation can make and about the decision to embark on nuclear new build. I want to reassure my noble friend, the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, and other noble Lords that we see huge potential in the reinvigoration of the nuclear sector in this country.
My understanding of the current intention is that the companies which signal an interest in developing new nuclear would build up to about 16 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity. The national policy statement names 10 sites as being potentially suitable for new nuclear development by 2025. It states that, looking at the mix of energy going forward over the next 20 years, it is envisaged that about 24 gigawatts of low-carbon non-renewable energy will be required, and there is nothing to prevent the nuclear sector from putting in applications that would meet that figure. I hope that will give a positive and powerful signal.
Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, what the Minister has said is very encouraging but the question was specific. Does he know whether there are companies
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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I am hopeful, my Lords. Clearly we need to go through the process of scrutiny of the national policy statements and, following that scrutiny, adopt any changes. However, already two reactor designs are going through the generic design assessment process by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to identify regulatory issues at an early stage. I hope that when the time comes the companies involved will be ready to go as quickly as possible. The noble Lord will know that one company intends that its first nuclear plant will be up and running by Christmas 2017. That is the kind of timetable that we want to fit to.
My noble friend Lord Hunt of Chesterton reminded us of the importance of engaging young people and ensuring that we have the skilled people ready to take advantage of the nuclear and other energy sectors. I agree that that is very important.
On the issue of costs and funding, the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, warned me of the great risk of quoting Stern in front of Stern. I know and understand that there are concerns about the cost to the UK of measures to reduce our emissions. However, our analysis is consistent with the review of the noble Lord, Lord Stern, and what he has said today. The important point is that, as the Stern review stated, it is the high cost of inaction which persuades us that it is right to expend resource at the moment. As the noble Lord, Lord Stern, said, we should see this investment as part of an exciting transformation which will provide secure, cleaner, more efficient and safer energy. I say to my noble friend Lord Hunt of Chesterton that, yes, there is great potential in the nuclear supply chain, and we are keen to work with industry to ensure that this country makes the most of it.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Salisbury gave an impressive description of the role of the Church of England in relation to climate change, both through encouragement and practical action. It was good to hear of the work that the Church is doing in its own schools. I should like to leave it to him to respond to my noble friend Lord Lea on population issues, which I suspect we will be debating in the months ahead.
I should say to the noble Lord, Lord May, that the right reverend Prelate's remarks emphasised the point that the noble Lord made about voluntary organisations. I was at the Halesowen scout hut on Saturday with the Deputy Speaker of the other place, Mrs Sylvia Heal, where 40 or 50 people turned out for a two-hour discussion on climate change. It was a fascinating debate which showed that people are ready to engage if we give them the opportunity.
I note what the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, said on banking. We strongly support the principle of banking where it encourages early action to reduce emissions. Rewarding it by allowing it to be counted against future targets is a discretionary provision under the Climate Change Act and a decision on whether the provision should be used can be made at the end of each budget period.
Some important points were made on transport. I know that there is concern that we have not been able to make enough progress, but we have agreed to provide an incentive for the purchase of electric vehicles by 2011. We are also providing £30 million to help lead cities and regions put in place electric vehicle-charging infrastructure. I well understood the point about the need for infrastructure.
The noble Lord, Lord Reay, raised electric-generating capacity, as have other noble Lords in the past. Yes, major investment is required. I remind noble Lords that we have more than 20 gigawatts of electric generation in construction, consented or seeking consent. Yes, there are issues about nuclear, timing, CCS and reliance on wind. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Reay, and my noble friend Lord Hunt that we think that wind has an important role to play in the next decade. We are confident that we can ensure that we have the required capacity. It will be possible to generate significant amounts of electricity from wind for most of the time, which will reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions. I understand the point made about the grid. It is important that we have an enduring grid access regime and it is our intent that that will happen. We are placing particular focus on ensuring that grid access is not a barrier for the up-to-40 gigawatts of offshore wind power that we will need.
On whether we can take advantage of renewable energy in terms of technology and manufacturing, I am confident that we will hear some positive announcements about manufacturing capacity in this country. I remain confident that there is great potential also for tidal and wave power. I noted the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, about Severn tidal power. We are going through the process of evaluation of the shortlisted schemes. We will probably be in a better position to come to a conclusion next summer. I understood what the noble Lord said, although I am not sure that the EU is in a position to agree to the derogation that he wishes for, but it is clear that compensatory action will figure largely in any evaluation of Severn tidal.
The noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, made an important point about boilers. I am well aware of his views on the potential for anaerobic digestion and am glad to continue discussions on it. He mentioned the renewable heat incentive and the work that we are doing in relation to renewable heat. We are aiming to develop details of the scheme, on which I hope we will be able to consult shortly.
On aviation, I think that, given the time, I should say just that the committee's work has been published today. It will warrant considerable reading and, no doubt, debate in the not-too-distant future. We need also to discuss shipping, because it tends to be ignored in many debates. We should not ignore emissions from the shipping industry. It would be good to see more leadership from the industry in that regard.
I agree with all the comments made about the importance of energy efficiency in the home and businesses. I understand the concept of whole-house energy efficiency schemes. We are looking at how they can be financed. I understand why noble Lords are attracted to a home-by-home, street-by-street approach.
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The noble Lord, Lord Turnbull, raised adaptation. I am delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, is chair of the adaptation sub-committee. Having had a little hand in that, we have every confidence in it. Adaptation is vital. Some climate change will happen, and we need to prepare for it. The Government can ask public service organisations to report on how they address the risk from climate change and what their adaptation strategies will be. The Government have been working very hard on this. The culmination will be a report that will be laid before Parliament. All departments are to produce adaptation plans by spring 2010. The point is clear: given the inevitability of some climate change, it is vital that public bodies start planning now for 20, 30 and 40 years ahead. I do not think there is any question about the integrity of the Hadley projections; they provide a fantastic source of information on the probabilities of the kind of climate we will face. From that, we can work through what needs to happen in relation to roads, buildings and defences and where we should be building things. It is important work.
We are delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Stern, is acting as an adviser to the EU and that he will shortly be going to Copenhagen. We wish him and all the negotiators every success. It is important that we have a strong and fair agreement, that finance is dealt with and, above all, that the UK can show leadership in helping the world community come to a hard, fair and meaningful outcome. Much is riding on the discussions in Copenhagen. It would be foolish to be overoptimistic. There are formidable challenges ahead before agreement is reached, but there are some grounds for optimism. I am convinced that out of it we can achieve the kind of
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This in an interesting process as we are having a debate before the Government have had an opportunity to make their formal response. On that basis, this has been a good opportunity for us to air some of the issues. I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this splendid debate. We have not agreed on all the issues, but this has been a thorough debate. I hope that the Committee on Climate Change and its members who are here will feel that their report is being treated with great seriousness. We look forward to continued debate on this important area for government, Parliament and the community as a whole.
The Chairman of Committees informed the House that, in accordance with Standing Order 150B (Revival of Bills), the Bill had been deposited in the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments together with the declaration of the agent. The Bill was presented and read a first time. It was then deemed to have been read a second time and reported from the Unopposed Bill Committee.
The Chairman of Committees informed the House that, in accordance with Standing Order 150B (Revival of Bills), the Bill had been deposited in the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments together with the declaration of the agent. The Bill was presented and read a first time. It was then deemed to have been read a second time and committed to a Select Committee.
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