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Climate Change Talks

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

The talks held in Bonn in May provided a successful start to the two-track process launched at the UN climate conference in Montreal on future international action to tackle climate change. Parties agreed that those discussions would continue at the November conference in Nairobi. Work also continued on developing a plan of action to further the understanding of how to adapt to the effects of climate change.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the answer. There is a climate change framework, which has widespread support on both sides of the House, which has been praised by the Prime Minister and which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has described as a beautiful model. It is supported by the Kenyan Government, who will be chairing the talks in Nairobi. It is called “Contraction and Convergence”. Will my hon. Friend ensure that our negotiating team gives that model all the support that it requires and what, I hope, the Kenyans will require in pushing it forward?

As a Government, we are certainly aware that a number of different models are being discussed—the Kenyans’ proposal on contraction and convergence is one and there are proposals from Brazil and others—and we need to have a full debate to explore the advantages and disadvantages of all the options. However, the contraction and convergence model is certainly favoured by a number of African countries, and we certainly want to look at it, as part of the process of building the international consensus on climate change that we need if we are to agree a stabilisation target and an effective package of measures to tackle climate change in the future.

When Ministers were in Bonn in May, did they take the opportunity to talk to their German counterparts about why efforts in Germany with the Renewable Energy Sources Act have been so much more successful than Labour’s efforts in the United Kingdom in promoting a range of renewable technologies? What do they learn from that? How do they plan to address the failure of our framework to give the lead in promoting renewables that we need if we are to meet our climate change targets?

As a new Minister, I have not yet had an opportunity to discuss issues with my German counterpart, but I reject the suggestion that we are not taking action on renewables. Under the renewables obligation—the targets that we have set for renewable energy—we want to generate 15 per cent. of energy from renewables by 2015, and with the renewable transport fuel obligation, we want 5 per cent. of our fuels to come from renewable sources by 2010. That clearly demonstrates that the Government are taking action on renewables, and we will continue to do so in the future. Indeed, that is a significant part of the work that has been undertaken by the energy review.