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Written Statements

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 11 October 2006

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Gleaneagles Dialogue (Mexico)

The Second Ministerial meeting of the Gleneagles Dialogue took place last week in Monterrey, Mexico and was jointly chaired by myself and the Minister for Energy, along with our Mexican counterparts. The Foreign Secretary joined us for the first session of the meeting and gave the opening speech (available at www.fco.gov.uk).

Overall, the meeting achieved genuine progress but dramatised the need for urgent global action. The chairs' conclusions reflect the stark facts compellingly presented by Sir Nick Stern (a preview of his soon-to-be published report on the economics of climate change), as well as the presentations from the IEA and the World Bank. There were also compelling presentations from civil society and business and input from legislators via GLOBE. Together, they set out the investment needed from public and private sources if we are to de-carbonise the world energy economy, the economic justification for doing so, and the frightening cost to us all if we do not.

The unity of understanding, concern and purpose among the 17 key energy-using countries that attended was unprecedented. In particular, I was delighted to announce a joint UK-South Africa approach to finding alternative international climate change frameworks to put before the negotiators, and a joint UK-Mexico-Spain-Development Bank study testing the applicability of the World Bank Energy Investment Framework to large-scale renewables projects in Mexico. In addition, the European Commission, Germany and Japan all emphasised the importance of energy efficiency. There was also widespread agreement on the vital importance of carbon capture and sequestration which was seen as a key technology for tackling emissions globally to 2050.

We have forged a deep and lasting partnership with both Mexico and South Africa that will pay dividends in the negotiations to come—particularly at the 12th Conference of Parties in Nairobi next month which forms the next step in discussions on international climate change agreements under the UNFCCC.

The event also signified the engagement of the International Financial Institutions in the climate change challenge. This marks a real movement from talk to action: even if the costs for achieving decarbonisation appear very large, the co-operation of the major developing countries is clearly dependent on our contributing more help with their costs of adapting to climate change than the developed world has managed so far.

Germany announced that climate and energy would feature prominently in their G8 Presidency, with energy efficiency the primary focus. They also announced that they would host the next Gleneagles Ministerial meeting in late summer 2007, inviting energy, environment and economic Ministers. The UK will continue working for strong outcomes in order to ensure that the Dialogue continues to galvanise countries into taking action that is ever more urgently needed.

Northern Ireland

Compensation Agency (Corporate and Business Plans)

I am pleased to announce the publication of the Compensation Agency corporate plan for the period 2006-2009 and business plan for 2006-07. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

Trade and Industry

National Minimum Wage

I am pleased to announce that the Government wrote to the Low Pay Commission on 22 September setting out our non-economic evidence on the national minimum wage.

The evidence outlines the Government's view on the following issues:

Accommodation Offset

Enforcement

Publicity and awareness

Particular groups of workers and related Government issues

Bank Holidays

The evidence has been placed in the Libraries of the House and will also be available on my Department's website at: www.dti.gov.uk