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Tianjin Conference

Volume 515: debated on Thursday 16 September 2010

8. What representations he plans to make at the October 2010 Tianjin climate change conference for amendment of the UN proposals governing emissions from land use, land use change and forestry to ensure that the managed forest emissions of developed countries are properly accounted for. (15501)

At the United Nations framework convention on climate change intersessional in Tianjin in October, although I will not be present, my officials will continue to push for accounting rules for robust forest management that maximise incentives for action while ensuring strong environmental integrity.

Under the current proposals, 465 megatonnes a year—almost half a gigatonne—of emissions from the logging industry will not be properly accounted for, because the Minister is going to support reference levels that are based on business-as-usual projections rather than on historical data. When are the Government going to stop pandering to the logging industry? They have already abandoned their manifesto commitment for UK legislation and now they are giving the industry a half-gigatonne backhander.

The hon. Gentleman has great experience in this sector and I am sure that his green credentials will stand him in very good stead in the shadow Cabinet elections, but I assure him that we are committed to having very robust rules and transparent mechanisms for land use, land use change and forestry—LULUCF. I hear what he is saying, but there are a range of options on the table and we have not yet reached a definitive end to this. We are absolutely committed to saving the rain forest, we have put the finance in place and we are leading the debate on this issue. We really are determined to push it further forward at Tianjin.

Is the Minister convinced that the impact of the new EU regulation on illegal logging, which prohibits only the first placing on the market of illegally logged timber, will genuinely reduce emissions from land use changes to the same extent as the promise that the coalition Government now appear to have dropped, to legislate to prohibit also the sale or possession of illegally logged timber here in the UK, would have?

We have not dropped a commitment from the coalition agreement, but we will be looking very carefully at the new measures to see whether they can do the job. I remain as committed to ensuring that we are at the forefront of the battle against illegal logging as we were on the day we were elected.