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Kyoto Protocol

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

6. What recent discussions he has had with his foreign counterparts on a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. (249989)

In December last year, I participated in the United Nations climate change conference in Poznan, which was designed to prepare the way for a global agreement in Copenhagen this December. Over the coming year, the UK Government will try to make our own contribution to a global deal, through, among other things, our own ambitious domestic commitments, our work in the EU and co-operation with the new American Administration.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. He may wish to follow President Obama and

“roll back the spectre of a warming planet”.

As such, will he ensure that the climate conference in December is not derailed by discussions over what developing countries must do and that it accepts that those who produced the most CO2 over the past century must take most of the responsibility for emission reductions?

All of us want to follow President Obama, who has certainly made an impressive start. The hon. Gentleman makes an important point about the commitment of developed countries. I think that they have to make strong and challenging commitments. We must find ways to ensure that developing countries are part of a global deal and can move away from a “business as usual” approach on emissions. Part of our responsibility is to find ways to finance those changes in developing countries. I agree with him about the approach that he suggests.

Does my hon. Friend agree that, as per capita carbon dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom have risen in this century, the statutory target for cutting those emissions by 80 per cent. by 2050 will be impossible to meet, particularly with the continued expansion of aviation, and does he agree that 80 per cent. is an unrealistic target to achieve at Copenhagen?

No, I do not agree with my hon. Friend, which is rare. I think 80 per cent. is a realistic target. The Committee on Climate Change has shown in its report how that can be achieved through what we do with domestic transport, the power sector and the household sector. Yes, ambitious measures are required, but it is most important that they are driven by the science. The science says that the world as a whole must cut carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent. by 2050, and that developed countries must play their part in that. The target is non-negotiable. We must meet it, and I think we can meet it.