My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now further considered on Report.
Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.
Clause 10 [Matters to be taken into account in connection with carbon budgets]:
47: Clause 10, page 6, line 12, at end insert “, particularly with respect to poverty reduction”
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, Clause 10 sets out the matters to be taken into account by both the Secretary of State and the climate change committee in recommending and setting climate change budgets. Subsection (2)(h) speaks of,
“circumstances at European and international level”.
What does the latter mean? Do we take into consideration who the president of the United States is and his reluctance to take action on climate change, or what?
The amendment seeks to make explicit that when the Secretary of State and the climate change committee are looking at the international context, they must consider the impact of their actions on the poorest people in the poorest countries. As we know, climate change will affect those living at the margins first and foremost. That is one of the main reasons why action is so urgent. We already see the impact on fragile countries, and it is disproportionately far greater than in the United Kingdom, which so far has been relatively well cushioned.
Developed countries have done more to produce climate change and have a greater responsibility to tackle it, but we also know that that will be difficult; the temptation will be to try to buy credits elsewhere to meet targets. So we need to ensure that we always bear in mind the impact of our actions on developing countries and on poverty reduction. We also know that we will ultimately require reductions in emissions in developing countries, or at least that those countries will need to develop in a different way so as not to increase their carbon emissions. International negotiations will need to safeguard the right to development in this circumstance. Again, we must bear in mind the necessity to address poverty reduction.
The Minister may well say that that is already at the forefront of the Government’s mind. To take a case in point, there are the new appointments to the climate change committee. I welcome this group, with its wealth of experience, but the press release accompanying the appointments states that it brings together expertise,
“from the fields of climate science and policy, economics, business and financial management”.
Nowhere does it say that expertise on the particular effect of climate change on developing countries is represented there. For that reason, it is vital that this aspect is in the Bill. I beg to move.
My Lords, I support the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Northover. I declare an interest as a vice-president of Tearfund, the international relief agency. I have also travelled to other parts of the world with Christian Aid. We have to recognise that there is a huge disparity in carbon emissions across the world. In the UK, it is estimated that each person emits just under 10 tonnes of carbon per year. In Bangladesh, the figure is 0.24 tonnes and in Ethiopia it is 0.067 tonnes. Apparently, the Earth can sustain just under one tonne per person of carbon going into the atmosphere. It seems to me and many involved in the field of international development that we need a much more equitable distribution of carbon emissions. International co-operation to alleviate poverty in Africa, for example, which is highly commendable, is undermined if we do not address issues of climate change. What is the point of helping Africa with aid, trade and debt relief if, with the other hand, we change the climate and ruin its harvest through the emission of extra carbon? The position of Her Majesty's Government’s with this Bill would be enhanced even further if we were able to include the amendment, which these Benches support.
My Lords, I support my noble friend’s amendment. I suspect that the Minister will not accept it, but I hope that he will speak to the climate change committee. When we consider buying credits from other countries, it is important that we do not do so in a way that will be cheap for big business in this country but expensive for those in other countries in terms of development. That should be set out in certain guidance. We often talk about the amount of pollution that China pumps out into the atmosphere, but we would do well to remember that most of the Chinese population lives on about $1 a day. It is easy for us to say that we should get rid of all carbon credits overseas, but perhaps we should look at the more expensive option of doing it in this country, especially if it is going to affect those in developing countries.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for bringing back this issue, but I draw the attention of the House to subsection (3) of Clause 10, with which the amendment deals. It states:
“Nothing in this section is to be read as restricting the matters that the Secretary of State or the Committee on Climate Change may take into account”.
We are sympathetic to the intention behind the amendment but we do not think that advising on the level of the budget is meaningful. The Committee on Climate Change advises on the level of the budget only, not on the means of bringing it about or the policies needed. The amendment would have to be targeted on what the committee is for, which would not be meaningful.
The Government have taken a lead on tackling poverty reduction in recent years and continue to do so. The amount of foreign aid to developing countries has been redoubled. By 2010, the Government will have trebled the aid budget in real terms since 1997. We are also on course to deliver the UN gold standard of 0.7 per cent of gross national income to be spent on overseas development assistance by 2013. Along with other issues relating to international finance agreed at Gleneagles that I could list, our commitment to dealing with international poverty reduction cannot be questioned—that is not to say that it will not be questioned, as the amendment seeks to imply.
The committee can take into account issues such as scientific knowledge about climate change. It is not bound by the clause itself. Although there is a list, the clause quite clearly states that the committee is able to consider any matter that it thinks appropriate, as can the Secretary of State. Now that the shadow committee is established and we know the membership of the committee, we should leave this issue, along with others that we will be debating, to members of the committee for the time being. It is right for us to offer our advice, as everyone else will, but they have considerable expertise in analysing a wide range of impacts in relation to climate change. It would not be fair to give them a role that does not fit in with their remit—the invention and implementation of policies to meet the budget targets. The effect that the noble Baroness is seeking could be held to be implied already in the Bill, should the committee wish it. People will be watching this issue. Therefore, I do not believe that we should accept the amendment and I hope that the noble Baroness will withdraw it.
My Lords, I thank noble Lords for their comments and the Minister for his reply. This issue above all issues cannot be geographically ring-fenced. I would be more reassured if the Committee on Climate Change had experts in this specific area among its members. Whatever the UK brings forward will indeed have an impact on developing countries. We are likely to return to this issue later in the Bill, but in the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
[Amendment No. 48 not moved.]
49: After Clause 10, insert the following new Clause—
“Duty to provide indicative annual ranges for net UK carbon account
(1) As soon as is reasonably practicable after making an order setting the carbon budget for a budgetary period, the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a report setting out an indicative annual range for the net UK carbon account for each year within the period.
(2) An “indicative annual range”, in relation to a year, is a range within which the Secretary of State expects the amount of the net UK carbon account for the year to fall.
(3) Before laying a report under this section before Parliament, the Secretary of State must consult the other national authorities on the indicative annual ranges set out in the report.
(4) The Secretary of State must send a copy of the report to those authorities.”
50: After Clause 10, insert the following new Clause—
“Duty to prepare proposals and policies for meeting carbon budgets
(1) The Secretary of State must prepare such proposals and policies as the Secretary of State considers will enable the carbon budgets that have been set under this Act to be met.
(2) The proposals and policies must be prepared with a view to meeting—
(a) the target in section 1 (the target for 2050), and(b) any target set under section 5(1)(c) (power to set targets for later years).(3) The proposals and policies, taken as a whole, must be such as to contribute to sustainable development.
(4) In preparing the proposals and policies, the Secretary of State may take into account the proposals and policies the Secretary of State considers may be prepared by other national authorities.”
On Question, amendments agreed to.
Clause 11 [Duty to report on proposals and policies for meeting carbon budgets]:
[Amendment No. 51 not moved.]
51A: Clause 11, page 6, line 17, leave out “Secretary of State” and insert “Prime Minister”
The noble Lord said: I shall speak also to the other amendments in this group. The amendments are designed to strengthen the Bill by recognising the need to drive the climate change policy agenda across government departments and by placing the Prime Minister and his Government centre stage in terms of accountability to Parliament.
The amendments are refined versions of similar ones that we tabled in Committee. They would transfer from the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister the duty to report on policies for meeting the budgets and the duty to respond to the Committee on Climate Change’s reports on progress. We feel that this is of fundamental importance to the functioning of the Bill and to ensuring that climate change policy is implemented with the greatest possible focus.
As I noted in Committee, climate change is a cross-departmental issue. Given the importance and sheer breadth of the issue, it is crucial to have the Prime Minister in a central position. The duties that these amendments would place on him are twofold. First, he would be required to lay the report before Parliament setting out the proposals and policies designed to meet the carbon budget. As these policies will affect nearly every government department, it is right that their announcement should come from the only person with responsibility that cuts across the board. The brief of the Secretary of State for Defra—or indeed any other Secretary of State—is simply not wide enough to ensure that these policies are driven across Whitehall with force sufficient to put them in the prime position in decision-making. The Minister himself knows, through his considerable ministerial experience, just how difficult that can be. His policy on public procurement of British produce by the Government and public bodies is just one example.
The second duty is very similar. Under the Bill's current framework, the Committee on Climate Change is required to report on the progress and effectiveness of the measures. The Government are required to present their response to the committee before both Houses of Parliament. We feel most strongly that this response should be presented by the Prime Minister because it concerns how the Government are progressing as a whole in meeting their carbon budgets. We anticipate that the proposals and plans will be drawn up by government departments in consultation with the committee. However, whether these plans have been effectively driven across departments is manifestly not in the brief of the Secretary of State for Defra; only the Prime Minister has an adequate scope of responsibility and authority stretching across government.
I turn briefly to a few of the objections raised in Committee. First, on precedence, the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, usefully pointed out that certain briefs such as defence, foreign affairs and the Home Department require the Prime Minister to sign off reports. The Minister claimed that these and other prime ministerial duties were accidents of history. However, this is certainly not the case. The Prime Minister is responsible because they affect the nation as a whole. The whole of this project needs very clear leadership to achieve the necessary goals. Combating climate change is a very necessary goal.
I do not think that any Prime Minister would claim that his mandate with regard to the country’s national security is accidental but we can consider other recent legislation passed by this Government that does require the Prime Minister to lay reports before Parliament. For example, Clause 58 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 states:
“The Prime Minister shall lay before each House of Parliament a copy of every annual report made by the Interception of Communications Commissioner under subsection (4), together with a statement as to whether any matter has been excluded”.
Here, as in our proposals, it is quite clear that it is not the duty of the Prime Minister to write the report or to take on the entire burden of its preparation in Downing Street; he is simply responsible for laying it before Parliament. This has a very real effect. If the Prime Minister receives the report and has responsibility for laying it before Parliament, this offers strong reassurance that the importance of the proposals to combat climate change is understood at the very highest level of government. This is the most effective way to ensure that climate change is a constant echo in Cabinet and in policy meetings across the Civil Service. It would also strengthen the role of the committee. By having the Prime Minister’s commitment, the stature of the committee is also increased. This would be a welcome step towards cementing the climate change committee’s importance in government and in the eye of the public.
The reason we offer these refinements to our amendments stems from the idea that the reports to which our previous amendments referred were of a scientific rather than a factual nature. Thus these new amendments refer to clauses that deal with the effectiveness of proposals and policies. We feel that placing the burden of presenting the reports on to the shoulder of the Prime Minister would be the best assurance that these policies and programmes are receiving the importance they deserve; namely, the highest importance. I beg to move.
My Lords, in speaking to these amendments to which my name is added, I strongly support the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, on this issue. As was said at the previous stage, although the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, whose name is printed on the Bill’s front page in respect of the human rights convention, shares Cabinet responsibility for Defra with the Secretary of State and therefore takes a lead on this issue, there is a slight problem regarding the various areas in which other departments have a say.
According to government figures in 2005, the share of carbon dioxide emissions from energy industries was 37.4 per cent, which is the responsibility of BERR—then the DTI—and from road transport it was 21.6 per cent, which is the Department for Transport. From other industries it was 17.8 per cent, although a vast proportion of that was from agriculture under Defra, and residential emissions were at 14.9 per cent, under the DCLG and Defra. There are other areas, such as the MoD, which will produce quite a few carbon emissions of their own. Is it really acceptable to believe that, if there is to be a turf war between departments, the Prime Minister will accept whatever is put forward by the Secretary of State for Defra?
In the amendment, we are not asking to overturn the whole remit of collective Cabinet responsibility, but we are asking the Prime Minister to lay the report before the House of Commons, which is quite a different thing. That would give a degree of satisfaction that the Prime Minister was happy with each of the departments’ recommendations and with what they were doing to meet their own commitments, not that there are differences between the different departments. That is quite important, and I believe that it will resonate very well with the country.
I was lobbied about this by a number of different people. One person who e-mailed me was particularly apt when they asked, “If the Prime Minister is not prepared to do this on climate change, what is the point of a Prime Minister?”. I thought that was a rather nice rhetorical question. However, we have all clearly seen this issue going up the political spectrum quite dramatically. We have just had an amendment on how this affects other departments through the Department for International Development. To say that it is going to affect each and every one of us is an understatement. I have been to a number of recent meetings where people have tried to express what a cut of 60 per cent means. It means that you are not going to be taking flights overseas on a regular basis. You are not going to be doing a lot of the things that we now take for granted, which will be difficult. It will be up to the Prime Minister to take the lead and to express to the country why we have to take those difficult positions and the basis for them. On that basis, I very much hope that the Government accept the amendment.
My Lords, the noble Lord who opened the debate and the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, failed to understand the inevitability of other Ministers being involved. No one can deny that this is a hugely important issue; climate change inevitably assumes that role. But it is misconceived to think that other Ministers cannot be involved. They are regularly involved. It is many years since I was a Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry, but I recall very few occasions when I could make a decision, or the Secretary of State could do so, on his own. Inevitably, other Ministers have to be involved. That being the case, there can often be fierce disputes at Cabinet level; I think that the noble Baroness would agree that inevitably disputes arise between Ministers. They often do. They are finally resolved in favour of a solution that may or may not commend itself to this House; but they are resolved.
Because of that, it is quite wrong to present a situation whereby the Prime Minister had automatically to be involved in the dispute in question. Because we have had collective responsibility in the Cabinet for many, many years, the Prime Minister inevitably—although I should not use that word again—has had to be involved in every issue that comes before the Cabinet. The noble Lords, Lord Teverson and Lord Redesdale, are wrong in supposing that the Prime Minister can stand back. He or she does not do that. It is wrong to imagine a situation in which the Prime Minister can abdicate responsibility. It does not happen like that.
My Lords, I declare an interest as a member of the Committee on Climate Change and I hasten to add that I am not necessarily expressing an opinion shared by my colleagues. I am broadly in favour of the amendment, and not only for the reasons that have been advanced; I hear the counter-arguments that there are many situations in which responsibility is distributed among departments. Here is something that is extraordinarily important. However, given the kaleidoscopic speed at which departments are reorganised, reshuffled and reapportioned, while it may be true that we can assign primary responsibility to Defra—we are looking at a Bill that deals with the next 50 years—it may be that in the not-too-distant future it would be better to have one department that is all about climate change. It is more likely that responsibilities will be yet more scattered than at present. For all of the reasons that have been mentioned about the present and for those reasons about the future, I am in favour of the amendment.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord May, has expressed a very important view. This is probably one of the most crucial amendments that we will look at on Report. So far, noble Lords have discussed it as if devolution did not exist. We keep doing that. We must remember that things have changed and that although we talk about cross-departmental decision-making, a number of the departments concerned have been devolved. Several of the departments which have had to agree to the measure are in Scotland, where the decisions will have to come through the First Minister, who with others will have to agree the target.
We will come to that issue in Amendment No. 233, when my noble friend the Duke of Montrose and I will make a suggestion about how such agreement might be arrived at. If the Prime Minister was the person who had to report to Parliament, many of these problems would be reduced, because he is the Prime Minister of Scotland. The remit of the Secretary of State for Defra does not run in Scotland, where there is a separate department. A confusion is being concocted in the Bill, which means that it simply will not work. The Government should listen hard to this; I do not know if this amendment is the solution, but there must be one. It seems to me that, on the face of it, if the Prime Minister was the person who put the ideas forward in the House of Commons, with the agreement of the Secretary of State for Scotland in Cabinet, Defra and so on, that would help the matter, at least in terms of presentation.
I hope that the Government will listen to this, but when I mentioned this problem in another context to the noble Lord, Lord Davies, his answer showed that the Government simply had not thought about it at all. He simply said, “That’s devolution for you”. That is not an answer. This is a real problem and the Government should think very hard about it. I support the amendment.
My Lords, I support the amendment for the reasons that I set out in some detail in Committee. I am not suggesting that my noble friend is insensitive but on this occasion I hope that he will be able to be more sensitive to the calls that have been made in the House. I want to concentrate on other amendments, as my noble friend knows.
My Lords, I supported this amendment in Committee, and it was also one of the issues to which the Joint Committee drew attention. It is important not only from the UK’s point of view but in relation to prime ministerial standing and backing of this issue. If the Prime Minister is to put all his weight behind this and discuss it in international fora, it will be far better if his name is on the vital bits of paper that go before Parliament.
I also support what my noble friend Lady Carnegy of Lour has just said. It is very important that we do not forget the other parts of the UK besides England. If you want to get Scotland on board on this matter, it is important to have the involvement not of the Secretary of State but of the Prime Minister.
My Lords, I have some sympathy with what has been said. We have to look at how we can achieve a coherent government message and mandate running through the delivery of the Bill. Whether that implies writing the Prime Minister into this legislation in a rather, although not completely, novel way, I have yet to be utterly convinced. However, it is incumbent on the Government to come back to this House at some stage during the passage of the Bill to explain how, if the Prime Minister is not to be written in, we can have a coherent and mandatory cross-government position for the delivery of the Bill. If my noble friend, whom I think I saw entering the House half way through the last Question, needs an example, then the Bill and its objectives are entirely contrary to the commitment to aviation expansion, as was reflected in the answers to the House during the fourth Question. Therefore, we need some coherence here. This may not be the way to do it, although it is one way of doing it. However, I hope that the Minister will at least contemplate this matter and come back with his suggestion at a later stage.
My Lords, I, too, support my noble friend. If the Prime Minister is not responsible for this task, it is not at all clear that the Secretary of State for the Environment, or whatever the department will be called at the time, necessarily should be, quite apart from the very powerful points made by the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord May. It is obvious that climate change involves the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Potentially huge costs are involved in anything to do with climate change, and they concern the Secretary of State for Transport, or whatever that department will be called at the time, and various other departments as well. It is not clear that the Secretary of State at Defra is the natural leader; because of the financial implications, it could just as easily be the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Therefore, the Government should seriously consider the point about the Prime Minister, not only because he is the ultimate spokesman for the Government and ultimately responsible for their policy but because this is not an issue that falls naturally into any one department. It crosses departments to a much greater degree than almost any other issue that is likely to come before Parliament.
My Lords, I support the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, that if the Government are not minded to accept the amendment, it is incumbent on them to come forward with proposals which would enable them collectively to take decisions. In my view, it is easy to set targets, but when delivering them involves very painful decisions that lie right across government, the chances of making progress through an individual Minister are minimal. I have not held ministerial office but I have sat at the side of many a Minister over many years and I know the realities. You cannot deliver other than with the Prime Minister’s support and some inter-departmental machinery. Therefore, I say to the House that the Bill is a dead duck in terms of delivery, as opposed to setting targets, unless there is something along the lines of the amendment or some very powerful alternative.
My Lords, in no way do I resile from the amendment moved by my noble friend or from the observations of my noble friend Lady Carnegy of Lour about devolution. In reference to my noble friend on the Front Bench, the relevant fact is that the Prime Minister is part of this amendment. On a technical issue, when the Minister responds will he confirm that the reason why we got rid of Ministers in departments and had Secretaries of State instead was to conduct the drafting of Bills so that Secretaries of State were totally interchangeable and any Secretary of State could exercise a Secretary of State’s responsibilities? In the same way, long ago, when we had capital punishment, the request for a royal pardon had to be delivered by the legal advisers of the person who had been convicted to a Secretary of State. During the Summer Recess there was always a duty Secretary of State in London who could receive such a request, as time would be important. That was at a time when there was a Secretary of State for Air and a Secretary of State for War who did not serve in the Cabinet.
My Lords, I point out that there is a precedent for this. It is in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, said at an earlier stage that the Prime Minister did not have duties in this regard. The Act says:
“The Prime Minister shall lay before each House of Parliament a copy of every annual report made by the Interception of Communications Commissioner”—
under various subsections and so on. So the Prime Minister is not writing the report or taking the full resources of the commissioner into Downing Street to comply with that, but he is responsible for laying the report before Parliament. He has that role, so there is a precedent.
My Lords, I do not wish to disagree with my noble friend Lord Brooke, but I support the amendment. In earlier debates on the Bill we spoke about our anxiety that it has not attracted the great thrust of the public behind it, a public who realise how important it is in the current situation. That is an additional reason why the Prime Minister should be the specified person to take this forward. I accept the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Dearing, that if the Minister cannot return with a satisfactory answer at this stage, perhaps we may return to it at a later stage. This is extremely important and if it is to resonate with members of the general public, it will have much greater effect if the Prime Minister is designated rather than any Secretary of State.
I have got to do my best. I want to disabuse noble Lords. I do not have the answer in front of me but when I used the phrase in Committee “accident of history” I was referring to the fact that the Prime Minister had a role in making certain appointments as a result of accidents of history. That was the point I was making. I did not go on to delineate the appointments, but I am reminded of that having read, like most who have just spoken, the Friends of the Earth brief. That was the context in which I was speaking.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Brooke, is quite right in what he says. Until 2005, of course, there was still a Minister of Agriculture; there was no Secretary of State. I know that was a problem from 1997 to 1999 for certain jobs that Jack Cunningham did or could not do because of the terminology. Secretaries of State are now interchangeable and that is the reason for that drafting.
The noble Lord, Lord Dearing, said that he had not held ministerial office but that he had sat at the side of Ministers. Every time he speaks I am reminded of the phrase in Gerald Kaufman’s book, How to be a Minister, published in 1982, when he was at the Department of Trade and Industry. Amid the Post Office issue, he would send for this character, Mr Dearing, who would arrive with all his bountiful advice which was first class. Nevertheless, I move on to the dodgy part of the debate, which is trying to answer this.
One issue that has been raised was mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Byford. I do not think that she was complaining about the fact that the media have not covered our debates, although that has been a common theme for one or two noble Lords. It is possible to take to an extreme the sentence in the briefing that noble Lords have received. It said:
“It is a fact of life that the actions of the Prime Minister are more likely to be covered by the media than the actions of a Secretary of State. These amendments are therefore likely to lead to a better informed public and so a stronger ‘court’”.
I am a mere Minister of State. It so happens that—as the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, said about names on paper—mine is the only name that will ever appear on the Bill. I was surprised about this a fortnight ago, simply because I had forgotten that when the Bill arrives in the other place it will not have the list of the great and the good—12 of them—on the back, which would normally be headed by the Prime Minister, because the Bill will be brought in from the Lords. Therefore the period before the Bill becomes an Act is the only time my name will be there. That shows that names on paper are worth nothing.
My Lords, I am making a genuine point. What counts is the substance of the Bill and the operation of government.
I have obviously failed to get an issue across in Committee. Do not get me wrong; I am not knocking it. A lot of points have been raised to which there has been an inadequate response. On the point of the noble Lord, Lord Dearing—and, in some ways, the point of the noble Lord, Lord Tugendhat—we will probably have to look again at how the machinery of government deals with climate change legislation over, say, the next couple of decades; one cannot look as far ahead as 50 years. Because the Secretary of State is interchangeable and will come and go, the machinery of government is bound to change. Departments are bound to change, as they have done even in the past few months. There must be a degree of confidence for the public—and business, because of the decisions being made—that there is a system in Whitehall for dealing with this; a system other than putting “Prime Minister” in the Bill.
Tackling climate change will require actions by future Governments and future business. We must do that in a way which does not damage us. However, there are good reasons why it is not appropriate for the duties in the Bill to be placed on the Prime Minister. I will come to the precedents. I never claimed that there were no precedents at all. There were roles for the Prime Minister, and some mentioned here today and in the brief could be held not to be on the same scale as the Climate Change Bill and matters of national security which the Prime Minister deals with on an individual basis.
The issue of the Secretary of State is very important, because of what the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, said. The Interpretation Act 1978 makes it clear that “the Secretary of State” means one of Her Majesty’s principal Secretaries of State. That is the advantage for legislation in terms of the machinery of government. They can all act and, therefore, it may be the Secretary of State for Defra, but it could be other Secretaries of State. The Bill, as it is now, is agreed by the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Administration. So, on the argument raised with me about the devolved Administrations, they agree with the Bill as drafted. As far as I know, they have not come forward during the passage of the Bill with any argument to substantially change how this part of the Bill is drafted on the basis of discussions in your Lordships’ House.
My Lords, that is what the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, said last time. I am sure that it is true; I am not sure whether the agreement was before the last elections in Scotland or not, but it has been agreed by the Scots Ministers. The question is how it will operate once it comes into action. How is agreement going to be got between the Scots Parliament and whichever department does this? That is nothing to do with the fact that the Bill has been agreed; we know that. My noble friend Lord Caithness put his finger on it: he said that if Scotland is to be carried with this, it is the politics of the matter. If the Scots Parliament with Scottish Ministers say they will do this and to a bigger extent than England, then England will do less, they will say, or they will refuse to do something, in which case England and the rest of the United Kingdom will have to do more. It is just a source of trouble. We are talking about the process of putting the Bill into action, not the Bill itself.
My Lords, all those issues apply to current legislation and are nothing to do with climate change. Since devolution, they apply across the piece where there are issues relating to the devolved Administration and the Government at Westminster. The Bill was introduced following the gracious Speech last year, and the Scottish Executive was elected, I think, in the summer of last year. As far as I know, the current Administration have agreed the Bill. I am not putting words in their mouth in that sense. One or two noble Lords have touched on the issue of collective responsibility. The Government work together. My experience in the past 11 years is that no major decision gets promulgated—I sometimes think it is no minor decision—unless No. 10 has agreed it. That is the way the machinery of government operates. The idea that the Prime Minister is divorced from these issues of Statements and reports to Parliament on a range of issues across government is nonsense. The fact that his name does not appear in the legislation relating to other departments and activities does not mean that he is not involved in what is going on and is not discussing things with Ministers during the decision-making process well before decisions are made. He is.
My Lords, is not the measure of the value of an amendment moved in this House whether, if it were to be approved, it would be reversible in the House of Commons when a Bill went there from the House of Lords? Does my noble friend not accept that if this amendment was carried it could, with difficulty, be reversed in the House of Commons?
My Lords, the answer may be yes, but I am doing my best to make sure that it is not carried in this place. We would like to have Royal Assent before the summer so that the climate change committee can get on with its work. The time this Bill spends in your Lordships’ House is fine as we wish to send it to the other place with as few problems in it as possible. That may be a problem—I do not know—but the decision is for your Lordships’ House, not for me or the Government. I want to assure the House that mechanisms exist in the machinery of government to ensure that people across government, including the Prime Minister, are involved in these decisions. The Cabinet takes responsibility for the Government’s climate change policies and objectives. It is done at the central level and that permeates throughout government to junior Ministers and civil servants who serve the Government. A sub-committee dedicated to the environment and energy issues is chaired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the noble Lord, Lord Tugendhat, made the point that financial issues could come to the fore for many years of this policy initiative—and the members of the committee include the Secretaries of State responsible for the environment, energy, transport, communities and local government. The committee has the Prime Minister’s authority to take collective decisions in this area, and if members of that committee cannot agree—as noble Lords who have been in government will know well—it will go to Cabinet and into the machinery at the centre of government.
I am not putting this up to knock it down, but nobody is claiming that the Prime Minister can take on meaningful duties and responsibilities on a daily basis for every policy across government. That is not the issue being raised. The point is that he delegates to Secretaries of State. Secretaries of State can come and go at the behest of the Prime Minister. That is a fundamental part of how the Government function. I fall back only slightly on the fact that No. 10 is not a large department; No. 10 has the facility to use the departments of state if it so wishes; so I will not use the argument that I used in Committee, because I was not happy about it at the time.
The precedents that have been raised are important. Some may remember that I was still in the other place at the time of the passage of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. I remember some of the debates in the other place, both in the House and in party meetings. The Prime Minister has a role in that legislation—there is no doubt about that—but he does not write the reports himself. There is an argument for not having the same model here. There are three important and independent bodies with national security roles that carry out supervisory functions, including writing reports. Those reports are laid before Parliament by the Prime Minister. They are those of the Interception Commissioner, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner. All related ministerial powers and functions are exercised personally at the Secretary of State level, as people well know, especially in this place, which is full of former Home Secretaries and Foreign Secretaries.
The reason that the reports are laid before Parliament by the Prime Minister is that he has traditionally taken an overarching responsibility for national security, the No. 1 issue for the people of this country. They look to the Government to keep them secure. That is national security in its traditional, narrowly defined sense, and the Prime Minister has a role. The term “national security” might be more broadly used in certain circumstances to include defence and foreign affairs, but that is not the case in legislation. That is the point: we are making legislation.
The courts have generally taken a narrow view, applying the term to fast-moving, specific situations that affect the nation as a whole. For example, banking is not viewed as an issue relating to national security; but an individual, large-scale forgery with potential to undermine confidence in banknotes could represent a threat to national security. So there are variations. Another pragmatic way in which the narrower term can be tested against the policy is whether the Security Service will be the lead organisation in dealing with it. If not, it is not generally regarded as an issue of national security.
Although we acknowledge that climate change is a serious, long-term global threat—no one is arguing against that; it goes right across government and will affect how we will work and live as individuals in this country; it is incredibly important—it is difficult to see how it could be defined as national security in the legislative sense where the Prime Minister gets involved, as in the examples that I have given. The effects of climate change are unlikely to result in a sudden risk to the security of the entire nation. We can have severe weather events, but they have not resulted in catastrophe in that sense, and it is difficult to attribute individual events to climate change.
People have mentioned that Defra is a relatively small department compared to some of the large departments of state. The implication is that it does not make sense to have the Defra Secretary of State in the lead. It may not always be like that, but allocating responsibility for sectoral emissions to certain Whitehall departments is very complex, as those who have worked in Whitehall know. We simply do not recognise the idea that Defra is therefore responsible for only a small part of our efforts to tackle climate change. We have responsibility for a large number of policy measures for reducing emissions. For instance, the department leads policy on the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, which caps about half of the United Kingdom's emissions and will shortly include aviation emissions. Defra leads on climate change agreements; the new carbon reduction commitment for business, with lower emissions intensity; and the carbon emission reduction target for energy suppliers, which will replace the energy efficiency commitment from 2008. There is direct responsibility for Defra, but no one is arguing that one department does it all. I am piloting the Bill through the House as the Defra Minister acting on behalf of my ministerial colleagues, but I am also doing it on behalf of the Government. All the other departments are signed up to the Bill. When I have been able to respond to some of the debates that have clearly gone beyond Defra, answers have come back not only from the Treasury but from other departments as well. This is a government Bill and a government-wide view. There is no reason why the Prime Minister should be written into the legislation in the way that has been suggested, and the precedents that have been given do not hold up the case. I therefore hope that the noble Lord will not press the amendment to a vote.
My Lords, I thank the Minister and all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. I assure him that he is too modest in his surprise at being the only name on the Bill. He has broad shoulders, and I assure him that he will be remembered not only for the historic parliamentary amendment but for the introduction of this historic Bill. He is also honest. When he referred to the dodgy part, I think he spoke the truth about his argument. Noble Lords’ widespread support for the amendments during this full and useful debate shows that there is a feeling that this limited but key role should be in the hands of the Prime Minister. I therefore wish to test the opinion of the House.
[Amendment No. 52 not moved.]
53: Clause 11, page 6, line 20, at end insert—
“( ) The report must, in particular, set out—
(a) the Secretary of State’s current proposals and policies under section (Duty to prepare proposals and policies for meeting carbon budgets), and(b) the time-scales over which those proposals and policies are expected to take effect.”
54: Clause 11, page 6, line 20, at end insert—
“( ) The report must explain how the proposals and policies set out in the report affect different sectors of the economy.”
On Question, amendments agreed to.
[Amendment No. 55 not moved.]
55A: Clause 11, page 6, line 24, leave out “Secretary of State” and insert “Prime Minister”
On Question, amendment agreed to.
[Amendment No. 56 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]
Clause 12 [Annual statement of UK emissions]:
57: Clause 12, page 6, line 27, after “Parliament” insert “and propose a resolution for its approval”
The noble Lord said: My Lords, the intention behind the amendments is to ensure that the appropriate attention and scrutiny continue to be given to these matters in Parliament and that climate change and the UK’s progress towards reducing emissions will be frequently debated. I understand that, despite their lack of first-mover advantage on climate change, this is not something that the Government now want to sweep under the carpet, but our feeling was that more assurance should be given.
We had intended to try to place this on the face of the Bill. However, following discussions in the usual channels, I understand that the Government may be prepared to give a clear assurance, on the record, that they will always give positive consideration to requests for regular debates on climate change. If the Minister is able to do so, I can equally say that, in so far as it is in my power, I will certainly seek to ensure that a future Conservative Government will do the same. I will also, subject to his words, feel able to withdraw my amendment. I beg to move.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord. I can cut to the quick here. Following debates that we have had both inside and outside the House, we can be sure that climate change will be regularly debated in Parliament over the coming years. The Government alone, of course, do not dictate the scheduling of business in the House of Lords. I am forever telling people that the Government do not run the Lords. However, following consideration, I can confirm that we on these Benches will be very sympathetic to requests through the usual channels for debates on climate change. As always, this will have to be subject to the usual channels finding the right balance with all the other business coming before the House. I hope that that indicates that we have moved somewhat from our position in Committee and that we want to be as positive about this as possible. I appreciate the commitment that the noble Lord has given on behalf of his party.
64: Clause 12, page 7, line 1, leave out “aviation or from international shipping are” and insert “shipping is”
The noble Lord said: My Lords, we come back to aviation and shipping, which we debated at some length in Committee. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 117 and 232.
We listened to the Minister’s response to the debate in Committee. We accept that this is not an easy area and that the Bill should approach the shipping and aviation industries in different ways. Our amendments would include aviation immediately but delay the inclusion of international shipping for three years. We accept that shipping is a particularly difficult area on which to make calculations. There needs to be a thorough review—we hope within an international context but, ultimately, if it comes to it, not necessarily so—to ensure that we get the shipping figures right. That is why the amendments propose delaying the inclusion of shipping for three years.
Shipping, although less important in terms of growth and size than the aviation industry, is still a major area of emissions internationally. Given that the United Kingdom is one of the world’s great trading nations, we cannot leave that sector out indefinitely. However, the Bill does exactly that; there is no time limit, as we see it, for when international shipping has to be included. We hope that transport and trade will increase thanks to globalisation, but carbon emissions have to be taken into account so that the shipping sector also feels the pressure on its carbon efficiency in the way in which it operates worldwide.
The aviation industry is much more important and cannot be ignored in terms of fast and urgent implementation of the Bill. Why is that? In the UK context, transport is the fastest-growing area of carbon emissions. If we take transport generally out of our calculations, the United Kingdom has a good record on CO2 reduction despite GDP growth. It is in transport that emissions have grown over the past few years and, within that sector, aviation has grown even more substantially. It is therefore the most challenging of sectors, which we must include from the beginning in government attention and recording in the UK net carbon account.
Although internationally aviation counts for only some 2 per cent of emissions, it is, even internationally, one of the highest-growth sectors—something like 5 per cent per annum. Let me put that into context. One transatlantic flight from Heathrow to the United States means an extra 160 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Worldwide some 130 million tonnes of fuel are used by the aviation industry per annum and each day there are some 85,000 commercial flights. I go through those statistics because this area cannot be ignored.
The Government rightly see the control and targeting of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide in particular, as key to climate change and as something that we should lead on. Therefore, for the sake of the authority of the Bill, both internationally and within the United Kingdom, we cannot leave out the carbon emissions source that has more growth than any other. How can we have a climate change Bill that does not immediately recognise growth in emissions in its largest-growing sector? To me, that takes away the integrity of the Bill, not just in a national but in an international context.
The Minister went through international standards at some length, saying that there was not yet a method of apportioning these national emissions as international ones. It is often mentioned that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will almost certainly, subject to agreement within Europe, come into play in 2011-12. Therefore, why should we not leave it until then? I answer strongly that the reports on climate change, such as those from the IPCC and the Stern review, all say that action is most important in the short term. The longer we leave areas to be managed, controlled or monitored, the more difficult it will be to make up that time later. That is why leaving the highest-growth sector on the back burner for another four or five years is not acceptable.
My Lords, Australia has changed dramatically in the past few days, with the election of the new Labor Government, and all three major candidates in the American presidential election, McCain, Clinton and Obama, support international action. Why should we do anything that jeopardises the favourable movement that has already occurred?
My Lords, like the noble Lord, I welcome the change in attitude of the Australian Government. I welcome also the commitments of the various American presidential candidates to move towards emission control systems. However, including aviation emissions in the Bill from day one would in no way prejudice that.
Perhaps I may illustrate why that is the case in Europe. We hope that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will apply to aviation in 2011-12. In the agreements announced by the Commission last month, the aviation sector is not distributed entirely among member states; the international airline industry is treated almost as a 28th member state of the EU in terms of emissions. Therefore, however that solution is worked out in Europe, it does not help us to solve this issue for the Bill in this country.
The UK already notifies international organisations of shadow figures for international aviation emissions based on bunkering. That may not be perfect—no system is—but, at some point, we have to make a choice. I see no merit in making a choice in 2012 as opposed to making a choice now. A decision taken then will be no more perfect than one taken now. In the mean time, we have an industry that is vital to the world’s economy but which also has a vital part to play in reducing emissions and the threat to the climate. I beg to move.
My Lords, if the amendment is agreed to, I shall not be able to call Amendment No. 65.
My Lords, I hesitate to intervene, but we need to think carefully about what the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, said, in part because this is a deeply emotional subject, which is wrapped up with the intense debate about the possible expansion of Heathrow.
The complaint of the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, is that aviation’s emissions are growing by 5 per cent. We are talking about a growth of 5 per cent in 2 per cent of global emissions at the present time. If my arithmetic is correct, that is 0.1 per cent. I suspect that a growth of 0.1 per cent in global terms from all emissions is rather less than we achieve from, for instance, our road transport industry. I hold no brief for the transport industries in making that point.
Third-world countries in particular are heavily dependent on income from perishables, which only they can produce economically and with few carbon emissions. If we were to try to produce those goods here, unless we used waste heat from power stations, we would be using fossil fuel to heat greenhouses. Third-world countries are also dependent on the tourist industry. Those industries are transport-based. If we want to equalise some of the gross inequalities in the global economy, we cannot do so without a heavy transport commitment. That is my first point. In the context of aviation, we are talking about a very small sum indeed in relation to the total global problem.
Secondly, in the case of aviation and, to a large degree, shipping, no alternative fuel is available. Technology can take us completely out of fossil fuels for road transport. That may seem like a daydream, but the technology already exists, provided that we change the way in which we source our energy. The technologies exist to make that possible as well. I have grave doubts about closing down a large and significant aspect of the global transport system, or making it more difficult or more expensive, when we need it in order to do a great deal of good in the world. We can change everything else, and that is where we should be focusing our efforts.
My Lords, the amendment is not about the future of aviation, but whether an attempt should be made in the next three or four years before the EU Emissions Trading Scheme includes aviation to measure and take account of the emissions from aviation caused by or belonging to this country. That is narrowly what this is about. It is not about whether aviation should or should not be included in emissions trading or should or should not be capped. That is a red herring for the purposes of this debate. The narrow question raised by the amendment is whether it is possible, meaningful and useful to include in the Committee on Climate Change’s first five-year target for carbon emissions aviation emissions that in some sense belong to the UK. I will address simply that point.
The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, acknowledged when he gave an example of how he would include aviation that it is exceptionally difficult—indeed, meaningless and I would say impossible—to designate emissions from international aviation as belonging to the UK as opposed to Europe, for example, and it would be extremely dangerous to do so. In due course, the Committee on Climate Change and the Government will have to decide how meaningfully to include aviation emissions in the UK targets—not to aim to limit them. As I understand it, there is no disagreement among any of the parties in this House, or on the Cross Benches or in Europe, that international aviation needs to come under controls and that that would best be done with international agreements starting with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Therefore, if the Bill is to be amended to insist that the Committee on Climate Change produces some meaningful targets for international aviation for the UK, we have to be convinced that it is possible for it to do so. The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, said that we produce figures now based on bunkering what fuel is put on to aeroplanes. He knows as well as I do that that does not in any meaningful sense represent the emissions arising from international aviation from flights into and out of the UK.
I respectfully suggest that the amendments would put the climate change committee, and the Government in responding to it, in a hopeless position. They could not come up with a meaningful figure that would be operational in any sense and on which action could be taken. As I said in Committee, putting sectors and emissions into targets must imply that somewhere along the line you are capable of taking actions to meet those targets. Noble Lords on all Benches know that aviation emissions need to be tackled but they are best tackled across the whole of Europe through the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. As a country we will never take action outside the EU Emissions Trading Scheme because, quite apart from anything else, that would be illegal; you could not do it. You would not be allowed to do it. Airlines would simply go to the European Court of Justice. Therefore, I respectfully suggest that to expect the committee in its very first year to produce figures that are both meaningless and completely incapable of being acted on is not a sensible way to proceed.
My Lords, I entirely agree with my noble friend. This amendment is somewhat illusory. We cannot possibly resolve this issue on our own, nor can Europe. Europe can certainly take ameliorative action, and is doing so, with the support of most of the European airlines and of the unions, particularly my own, the British Airline Pilots Association. But to think that we can isolate ourselves and take ameliorative action on our own is pie in the sky; it will not happen. By their very nature international aviation and shipping—shipping is far more difficult to resolve in this regard than aviation—are susceptible only to an international solution. As I say, aviation is much more likely to achieve this action than shipping.
I am enormously encouraged by the fact that the new Australian Government have resolved to embrace an international solution. As I said in an intervention, all the major candidates in America also support that view. So we are left with the difficulty of India and China in particular. At present, they resist the conclusion that there ought to be an international solution but they are much more likely to come on board if America chooses to do so. Therefore, we are much closer to a positive situation than we have ever been. I am not saying that it will be easy to arrive at a solution but there can be no doubt that we are much closer to one than we have ever been before.
This amendment is unrealistic and the Liberal Democrats are being unrealistic in proposing it. The noble Lord shakes his head. That is not the first time he has done so. The Liberal Democrats are being not only unrealistic but unworldly.
My Lords, I believe that the Liberal Democrats have made the error of pursuing the agenda that was put to them by environmental groups outside, in particular Friends of the Earth, by concentrating on the targets that the noble Lord, Lord Dearing, expressed some concern about before, when he talked about the need to concentrate on delivery arrangements as against simply targets. We might recall from the other day that it was the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, who moved an amendment on the 60/80 issue. Again today he is moving an amendment on aviation, and he seems to be flagging up those issues that appeal outside but which do not deal with the core of the Bill, which is the mechanism by which we are going to secure changes to budgets and the arrangements for the future, which again is the point that was made by the noble Lord, Lord Dearing.
I worry that the Liberal Democrats in the other House might fall into the same trap unless they are alerted to the fact that there is a danger in going down this route. There may well be good politics in this, and there may be many a leaflet that can be circulated by Liberal activists around the country, which will inevitably happen, which will accuse the Government of not responding to the debate in the way that the environmental groups demand or require. The leaflets are not really going to deal with the central issue in this debate, which is the mechanism for delivery. We are now confronted, as my noble friend on the Front Bench will know, with amendments that we will debate later—including my Amendments Nos. 175 and 176 and a number of amendments tabled by the Conservative Front Bench which I completely support—that deal with mechanisms. It is interesting to note that it is almost the Liberal Democrat Benches in isolation—I am not being political, I am just mentioning—
My Lords, it is hard to explain. I am isolating a group of Members of this House who seem to be flagging up what people outside have erected as the central areas for consideration in the debate, but which in my view are not the central areas. The argument about 60/80 will be dealt with by the climate change committee. The argument over aviation will be dealt with in 2012 under the European arrangements, and it will obviously be dealt with in the climate change committee. The noble Lord is defusing the need for the committee to feel that it has responsibility for these important areas. I appeal to the noble Lord, even at this late stage of the Bill, to perhaps reconsider the whole strategy that the Liberal Democrats are adopting in these debates.
My Lords, is the noble Lord saying that we should not debate this in Parliament or raise these issues but that we should leave them to a committee and just take on board its views? Surely the purpose of this debate is to question that. I do not want to be political about this in any way, shape or form, but we on these Benches think that that is the case.
My Lords, it is not that the issues should not be debated; of course they should be debated. But we saw the other day that the noble Lord’s Benches are prepared to divide on these issues, which means that they do not only want the debate, they want enshrined in the Bill these targets, which some of us really believe are the function and responsibility of the committee.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way, because I wanted to respond to that point. The noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, will appreciate that when my noble friend Lord Teverson and I sat on the Joint Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill and heard all the evidence, we did not do so as Liberal Democrats but as members of that committee. Although we are now here on these Benches in a political form, all the evidence that we heard on the target that he has mentioned, with which we have already dealt, was that it should be 80 per cent. When we heard evidence on, for example, aviation, one of the things that most surprised me was how open the aviation industry was to some of these things.
Far from being political, we are reacting to the evidence that we heard. Apart from that, I would fully concur with my noble friend that these issues are parliamentary and we really cannot shrug our shoulders and say that we are not going to decide on any of them and will leave it all to the climate change committee, whose creation I, too, thoroughly support.
My Lords, the distinction between the position taken by the noble Baroness and myself and, perhaps, my noble friends, is that when decisions are taken on these issues, I believe that they should come out in the words and phrases used by the scientists, not the politicians. In 20 years’ time, I do not want someone on television saying, “Well, I’m sorry, we were not interested in that recommendation; it was just a decision taken by Parliament—a bunch of amateurs”. I want people in 20 years’ time to say, “We have to accept decisions taken 20 years ago in the climate change committee, because they were based on science”. In my view the committee should take the decisions, but the Bill currently refers to advice. “They were based on advice taken as a result of scientific work and research done by the Committee on Climate Change”. The noble Baroness wants politicians to take the decisions; I want the scientists to recommend or, indeed, decide. That is the distinction.
My Lords, there is only one acid test as to whether or not the amendment is appropriate: is it going to make international aviation accountable? Will it make the EU Emissions Trading Scheme happen quicker, or will it make it more complicated to achieve? I do not think that anyone doubts—the aviation industry recognises this—that international air travel has to be brought into account. However, as the Minister reminded us in Committee, it is not helpful to have unilateral action, which in some ways confuses the issue and does not in any way help us to quantify the amount that has to be attributed in the UK account to international air travel.
The issue that ultimately has to be addressed is how to change personal lifestyles. Most of those who travel internationally, particularly on long haul, have to recognise that perhaps 25 per cent of their carbon footprint will be attributed to international aviation. That is a stark difference from 2 per cent, which is the overall figure, because so few people travel internationally. So if you asked the simple question, “Does this Liberal Democrat amendment advance and help the cause of having not just effective EU emission trading schemes sooner rather than later but action by other international agencies, which work at an even slower speed on these issues?”, the answer emphatically is that it will not. Therefore the amendment is not going to help us. The noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, says that we are here to debate these issues. Actually, we are here to improve the Bill, and that is quite different.
My Lords, if it will be of some comfort to the Liberal Democrats, we, too, believe that the emissions referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, must be included somehow. We have no qualms about the intention underlying the Liberal Democrat amendments. However, on reflection, there may be a better way of going about it. Thus, we will speak on our way of addressing the problem—placing a duty to regulate, based on international trade and transport—in the next group of amendments.
My Lords, I realise that we will cover some similar material on the next group of amendments. Therefore, I shall not prejudge Amendment No. 65. Indeed, if Amendment No. 64 is carried, we will not have the opportunity to debate Amendment No. 65. Nevertheless, there are issues that are covered by both groups. One of our best debates in Committee was on this issue. It lasted for a couple of hours. It was probably the longest debate we had on any of these issues. My noble friend Lord Bassam of Brighton, as the transport spokesman in this House, arranged a subsequent meeting so that noble Lords could discuss the issue. That turned out to be useful.
The Government agree completely that these are important issues—no one is arguing otherwise—and it is essential that the right decisions are taken based on a proper analysis and the best evidence base. That is why, in response to our previous debate, the Government have now brought forward Amendments Nos. 118 to 120, which would give both Parliament and the Committee on Climate Change a greater role in decisions.
I recognise that this group of amendments treats international aviation and shipping emissions differently, as the noble Lord said. I agree that the question of shipping emissions is particularly complex, and it is therefore very likely that we will need to approach international aviation and shipping differently under the Bill. However, I reassure your Lordships that the Bill as it stands does just that. It allows us, if necessary, to include either international aviation or international shipping emissions in our targets ahead of the other.
I shall take the issue of international aviation first. As I set out in Committee, the Government’s view is that the best way to deal with international aviation emissions is through action at international level. We are working hard, in the International Civil Aviation Organisation and through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Bali action plan, to find a global solution, and we are already taking action in Europe. We strongly welcome the recent unanimous political agreement to include aviation emissions in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Although the details are not yet finalised, including aviation within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will mean that aviation emissions from 2012 are capped, that this cap is set at the average of 2004-06 levels, and that any growth in emissions above this cap all the way to 2020 will need to be compensated by emission reductions elsewhere within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The current proposal is that this will apply not just to all flights between the 27 member states but also to all flights which arrive in or leave the EU. On that basis, the scheme will save 183 million tonnes of carbon dioxide—roughly equivalent to the CO2 emissions for the Netherlands in 2004. This is a significant step forward, and I am sure that noble Lords agree that whatever we do under the Bill has to be consistent with the wider European and international framework.
As I think has been recognised during our previous debates on these issues, there are real practical difficulties here. That is why we think that we need expert advice from the independent Committee on Climate Change before we take decisions. I do not want to be overly critical of the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, but when he introduced the amendment I did not hear him mention the mechanism for addressing these practical difficulties.
As I said, this is a difficult and complex issue, and that is why we think that the Committee on Climate Change should address it. We will ask the committee, as part of its first task, to advise us straightaway on the impact of including these emissions in our 2050 target. It is also why, once the EU Emissions Trading Scheme rules are agreed, we will ask the committee for its detailed advice on a methodology for including international aviation emissions in our targets. We need to know whether there is a methodology which works and which is compatible with both the EU ETS rules and the wider international context, and what the impact of adopting it would be. Again, these are not straightforward questions, and that is why we believe the best approach is to wait for the committee’s advice.
That is also why the Government have tabled Amendment No. 120, which we will come to later. This amendment provides that, before making regulations to include international aviation or international shipping emissions, the Secretary of State must seek, and take account of, advice from the Committee on Climate Change. We think that this is the best way forward. If we were to include international aviation emissions in our targets immediately, as proposed by Amendment No. 117, how would that work in practice? For example, how would the UK’s share of international aviation emissions be identified? Would it be on the basis of the fuel sold within the UK? If so, what would be the risk of perverse impacts, such as planes filling up elsewhere and flying here with a heavier fuel load, which could increase emissions, or transfer traffic simply diverting from Heathrow to Amsterdam or Paris, with no environmental benefits whatever? These are practical issues. If we go unilaterally, it is no good us complaining if other countries take commercial advantage of us, as would be the case.
How would this fit with aviation’s inclusion in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, which we expect to start in 2012, and which will probably allocate emissions on a different basis? Would we have two systems running alongside each other? Or would we need to change systems almost as soon as we started? This is not really the best approach to regulation on such an important issue. In addition, what would be the implications for the international negotiations if the UK decided unilaterally on a particular way of dividing emissions between countries? How would we avoid undermining our efforts to reach a global deal on this, bearing in mind that we all agree a global deal is required? Across the negotiating table we would be challenged that we had already done it: “You have chosen your own way; why are you here trying to do a deal with us?”. It does not make practical sense.
These are important, practical, questions. I do not say that the Government have all the answers, but we ought to pose questions that were not posed in the moving of the amendments, and then ask the Committee on Climate Change to agree to provide advice on this before we decide whether to include these emissions. We therefore do not think that the approach taken in the amendment is the right one.
The Liberal Democrat amendments would require the Secretary of State to define international shipping emissions within three years of Royal Assent. On the other hand, the amendments that we shall come to on this issue set a deadline of action under Clause 25, although I recognise that they take a different approach. However, our concern with the deadlines in these amendments, or indeed any arbitrary deadline, is precisely that—that they are arbitrary. We ought to look at the matter in the round. The Government have made it clear that they are determined to find a comprehensive solution in these sectors and we are pressing internationally to do so. That is the forum in which we have to get the decisions taken. Why create an artificial constraint? That would be the effect of approving these amendments.
Negotiations in these areas are incredibly sensitive and the possibility of reaching agreement sometimes hangs by a thread. It will make the negotiations which frequently take place—I am pleased to say I am not too involved in them, but I get involved—on the common agricultural policy among 27 countries look like peace on earth. These will be incredibly sensitive and we will be causing ourselves major problems if we put these amendments in the Bill and tie our hands. We must retain flexibility. To include the emissions in the European and international contexts is right and we are working hard to come to that kind of agreement on an international basis. Therefore, I sincerely hope that the noble Lord does not press this amendment.
My Lords, the reason we focused both in the Joint Committee and here today on aviation rather than on shipping is twofold: it is partly because shipping is much more complicated for attribution than the already complicated aviation sector, and partly, and largely implicitly, because aviation was thought to be a more important source as well as a more rapidly growing one. Work in the past couple of weeks has reappraised that and suggests what many have long suspected: that shipping may be twice the volume. Recognising that these are the early stages of a journey in five-year steps to 2050, is the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, satisfied that the Bill, as we are framing it, has flexibility so that we can deal with these things as and when both the international system and the greater knowledge and wisdom about how to include them make it possible?
I think the answer to the noble Lord is yes. I saw the report of the work to which he has referred a couple of weeks ago. I think in Committee I gave some information about shipping which makes it almost impossible for us to do the measurements at present. We cannot get an agreed methodology. The historic figures for UK shipping, based on the amount of fuel sold within the UK, demonstrate no discernible trend, which makes it very difficult for us to forecast future emissions as there is no evidence on which to base the forecast.
Nevertheless, the nature of much of the international shipping industry is global and highly mobile and it operates without the need for permanent or continuous association with individual nation states. There is no agreed international methodology for attributing international shipping emissions to individual countries. A number of issues must be addressed before any methodology could be accepted, such as how to deal with the risk that vessels simply reflag to different countries or buy fuel at alternative locations; the lack of information about fuel efficiency of individual vessels or historic trade statistics; and the difficulties of calculating average emissions for a wide variety of vessels and engine types.
We are taking steps, as I said in Committee, to address these issues through the International Maritime Organisation, but we are not there yet. When we have done that, we will be in a position genuinely to ask the Committee on Climate Change to make some kind of assessment. So the answer to my noble friend is yes. The Bill will facilitate it and does not stop us doing that. We are working on that at an international level. Therefore, to get the information and an agreed international methodology to put to the climate change committee is vital.
My Lords, I reinforce what the Minister said about shipping. The International Maritime Organisation, which is responsible for all regulations regarding international shipping, has been urgently looking into the question of ship emissions. I spoke to the secretary-general last week, who told me that the work has been delayed for precisely the reason the Minster has just given: the complication of international shipping.
I also remind the noble Lord, Lord May, that, although shipping may on the face of it be responsible for large amounts of emissions, he should remember that the vast bulk of international trade goes by sea. In fact, shipping per tonne mile is way more efficient than both lorries and aviation.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for going through this again. We have had an excellent debate, but I should respond to one or two comments.
I was particularly surprised at the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours. Strangely enough, we tabled these amendments because we believe in them. As my noble friend Lady Miller said—I do not want to spend too much time on targets—it was the Government who put a target in the Bill, not us. All the evidence is that they have the wrong target in the Bill, so we thought that it might be a good idea if we put what is likely to be the best target in the Bill. That seems remarkably straightforward to me.
Strangely enough, we believe that aviation is an important industry. It is also growing and has significant carbon emissions. We therefore have a number of choices. Do we—as I got the impression that the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, suggested—ignore it and get on with the rest that we can absolutely define? That is not the right thing to do, because this is an important sector. Do we, as the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, said, say that including aviation will not do anything about the future and we should therefore not do so? Well, if that is true for aviation, it is true for every other sector covered by the Bill. Aviation is no different.
Perhaps the only two reasons requiring more explanation are, first, whether we can measure it and, secondly, as the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer, said, whether it affects the EU ETS and international trading. On the first, the EU ETS will not help us in our national definitions. It will not allocate UK aviation emissions. When we get to 2012, this problem will not be solved. It will not be any easier. Therefore, on the basis that it is better to act now than in the future when the problem of climate change becomes worse, the answer is surely to act now rather than five years later. Why procrastinate?
My Lords, that question shows the misunderstanding of the amendment. It is about measurement. If we started an emissions trading scheme that applied to UK aviation only, I would back the noble Lord in rejecting it. As he said, all the Bill does is provide a mechanism. That mechanism is measurement; the Bill does not include any element of policy or implementation of policy. Measuring these emissions has zero effect on what happens, as in every other sector of the economy. Measuring is followed by government policy. It is clear that we might as well include it now as later. The mechanism for measurement will be no more straightforward or easy in the future than it is now. The EU is not going to provide us with a method of calculating UK international aviation emissions. It does not do that. International aviation emissions are separately treated outside member states in the post-2012 regime put forward by the Commission and endorsed by the Council of Ministers.
Aviation is important. Let us get on with it now. I regret that the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, cannot follow our approach. He made strong speeches at Second Reading, but I understand that he wants to approach this matter in a different way. I think this is fundamental to the Bill; otherwise we leave out a sector that needs to be in from the beginning. I recognise that the Government had the sector in the Bill from the beginning but that it would come in at a later date. We do not believe that is good enough. We need to act now. Therefore, I wish to test the opinion of the House.
65: Clause 12, page 7, line 1, leave out “aviation or from international shipping” and insert “passenger travel and imports or exports of goods”
The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 65, I shall also speak to Amendment No. 116, which is grouped with it. I hope that noble Lords will understand that the amendments seek to introduce a new idea on this vexed topic. I recognised in the previous debate the earnestness of the views expressed and noble Lords’ desire to seek a solution. I hope that the House can find such a solution in these amendments.
Our amendments would provide a framework for the inclusion of emissions from international trade, travel and transport, but in a way that would get around some of the problems to which the Minister referred in the debate on the previous amendments. They are also designed to address the problems arising from the vocabulary of the debate—the serious and possibly detrimental policy implications of just talking about aviation on the one hand and shipping on the other. Our proposal switches the focus to transport more generally. It addresses it in a broad and general fashion and, by doing so, provides a way in which the least carbon-intensive method of moving goods or people to and from the UK will be favoured.
First let me explain the necessity of addressing this problem. Although the problem was to some degree covered in the previous debate and although, as the Minister recounted, we had a good and thorough debate on it in Committee, it is too serious for me not to reiterate the issues briefly. Not having a provision for the emissions caused by trade and transport is unjustifiable. If there is to be progress towards addressing climate change, these emissions need to be counted. The analogy constantly and aptly used is that it is like going on a diet but not counting the chocolate. To ignore trade and transport emissions is to ignore climate change.
I know that the Bill has provisions to enable the Secretary of State to make regulations on aviation and shipping, but there is no duty for him so to do. Simply waiting around until the EU proposes a way of solving the problem or forces the UK to address it is, frankly, a bad way of governing. We appreciate that a lot of the regulation will require international co-operation and will depend on international agreements; that is the nature of the beast. However, if we truly intend to take a lead on climate change, we need to take a lead on addressing some of its biggest contributors. Therefore, our amendment would place a more positive duty: we specify that the Secretary of State must address these emissions in a five-year timeframe.
On the essential difference between our amendment, which refers to goods and passenger travel, and the formulation in the Bill—namely, aviation and shipping—the problem with discussing emissions from trade and transport solely in terms of aviation and shipping is that that runs the risk of placing a disincentive on shipping, which is a relatively carbon-efficient method of transport in terms of tonnage. The emissions caused by air travel are relatively easy to count by using bunker fuels in the country of origin or in the country where the airline company is registered. Indeed, we record much of that information already. Shipping is much trickier to regulate, especially as goods brought into the country by ship might have taken a variety of routes before being loaded on to a ship or small boat and being brought into the UK.
When discussing transport emissions, we need to be careful not to exclude other carbon-intensive modes of transport, such as haulage by truck, which have a direct bearing on our imports and the shipping industry. For example, if shipping becomes heavily regulated, there might be an incentive to have ships dock at Rotterdam or, worse, Istanbul, and then to drive across the Continent and into this country via the Channel Tunnel. The Minister has referred to the problems that might arise from such a transposition of trade. Conversely, if the regulations on shipping are not sophisticated enough or concern shipping without any regard to the entire carbon footprint of the transport of goods, it might prove economical to have goods driven across much larger stretches of land and then simply loaded on to ferries to make the Channel crossing, when a large ship could have delivered the goods to England with a fraction of the carbon footprint.
These amendments go to the heart of the problem by addressing the purpose of shipping and aviation, as well as of transport more widely—moving goods and people to and from the United Kingdom. By expanding our view of transport, we stand a better chance of having regulation that addresses the problem systematically instead of including certain bits and not others, which may in the end create greater confusion and contribute to global warming more substantially than was originally intended.
Let us consider the other more minor but still important emissions that are excluded from the Bill as it stands and which would still be excluded if we spoke only in terms of aviation and shipping. Ferries carrying passengers to France, the Netherlands and Ireland would have to be included under our scheme, as would international rail travel. The purpose is to provide a framework within which regulation can be made that will provide incentives to use the least carbon-intensive method of moving goods and people while ensuring that the entire scope of the problem is taken into account.
That might sound daunting or idealistic, but I am assured that there are potential mechanisms for addressing the issues that I have outlined. I do not pretend that it will be easy, but I have been assured by maritime experts that it is possible. At the moment we have the T1(L) form, which is mandatory for every piece of freight coming in from outside the EU and which accounts for the entire journey and method of transport used at each stage, for tax and duty purposes; within the EU, CMR forms are regularly used. The T1(L) form could be amended to take account of carbon emissions or could be used to create a database. Our amendments do not propose specific policies and I mention this only as an example to noble Lords to show that our amendments are not pie in the sky but have a basis in sound policies.
The amendments would place a specific duty on the Secretary of State to make regulations within five years—essentially for the next budget period. We have proposed this timeframe for two reasons. First, we want to ensure that it is done. At the moment the words “may make … regulation” are too weak and we want assurances that it will happen. We simply cannot accept the argument that any Secretary of State would be foolish not to address these issues. This needs to be a firm duty in the Bill.
The second reason for the timeframe is that, while five years may seem a long period to some, it may be a short one for those who have to make regulation. We feel that five years is an adequate period for the development of a robust mechanism for counting trade and transport emissions. It means that these emissions would fit in neatly with the secondary budgetary period. It would also allow adequate time for international negotiations and ensure that our hands were not tied during talks on the new EU ETS and Kyoto. The period is still lengthy, but we would rather have a robust and effective mechanism than a rushed one that needed to be scrapped because it was ill conceived or because international agreements changed.
We hope very much that the first budget period will be set in such a way that it takes into account the fact that the biggest contributors to climate change are not being counted. We feel that this approach is the most sophisticated and effective way of ensuring that we count all the important contributors to climate change, including international transport and the movement of people. I beg to move.
My Lords, we on these Benches think that the amendment is not as good as it could be. We should be more plain speaking and include aviation and shipping, but we are beyond that debate now.
It is important that we include in the Bill international movements of people and freight, however that is described or defined, and that this has to happen within a timescale. We need to make sure that there is a duty on the Secretary of State to introduce whatever system is decided upon rather than the matter being left open-ended until some point in the future.
When I first read the amendment, I thought it contained more than the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, described. I thought it was far more revolutionary and contained something I could welcome even more: that within the UK carbon footprint we would include the carbon footprint of all imports and take off everything that we export. In that way, we would have a carbon footprint that related to UK consumption or gross national income. That would be a very advanced concept but it would get around the problems of outsourcing. The United Kingdom and much of Europe have met their Kyoto targets so far purely by delegating manufacturing to China and other parts of the Far East.
The amendment is not aimed at that. I understand what the noble Lord is trying to get at with the amendment and it is better than the Bill as it stands. There are potential issues around it but, if it was passed, we could perhaps resolve them in the future.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, said “if shipping becomes heavily regulated”; I can assure him that shipping is already heavily regulated and becomes more so by the week. What I cannot understand about the amendment is that international aviation and shipping includes the movement of passengers by sea and air, so I cannot see any great difference between this and the previous amendment.
The problem with Europe, which has been mentioned, is that shipping is very much an international business. Any moves made locally in local areas are bound to complicate the international situation. I have worked on and off for many years for the Port of Los Angeles in California. Los Angeles and its neighbouring port, Long Beach, are in the vanguard of trying to cut down emissions connected with the ports and all traffic movements in and out of them.
As I said in Committee, they have started a system whereby ships plug into shore power when they are in port. This is fine where shore power is provided mainly by nuclear or hydroelectric sources. Obviously, if the power is provided by coal-fired power stations it does not help very much. They also recently tried to bring in a local regulation whereby ships have to reduce their sulphur emissions within 15 miles of the port. That regulation was thrown out on appeal, with a higher court saying that that was the responsibility of the Federal Government and that local people should not be doing this kind of thing.
That brings me back to what I was saying about shipping being an international business. As I said on the earlier amendment, the International Maritime Organisation is looking with some urgency at this problem. There is no one-size-fits-all as regards shipping and this is causing the problem.
On emissions within Europe, we already have two areas where ships have to cut down the sulphur content in their engines—one in the Baltic and a new one which has just come into operation in the North Sea and the English Channel. So already things are happening. It would be a great mistake, as the Minister said earlier, for shipping to be brought in now before some kind of international agreement can be reached.
My Lords, the question is whether the amendments make it harder to negotiate the international agreements that we all recognise will be needed, whether for aviation, shipping or, indeed, the international movement of goods and passengers.
I rather like the amendment because it sets a realistic timescale—the Secretary of State is required to regulate within five years—and we are assured by the previous speaker that the International Maritime Organisation is tackling this issue with urgency. I would assume, if that is the case, that five years is not going to present a problem. In other words, something ultimately will be resolved in five years. Do not hold your breath, my Lords; I suspect that I may be proved optimistic in that. Again with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, we know that the target is 2012 and it seems that the timescale of five years is appropriate.
I like the amendment because it recognises that we are seeking to allow passengers—indeed, in many ways, to encourage passengers—to travel, but by the least carbon-emitting method. Taking an overall audit comparing maritime, air, rail and road and putting in place policies which encourage the least emitting form of transport seems a desirable objective which the Secretary of State should address in the medium term.
The Minister spoke very convincingly and, as we knew he would, with some passion on the previous amendment about the need to ensure that we did not put in place measures which would put us at a disadvantage with our competitors. I do not think that that criticism can be held against these amendments and I will be very interested to know whether or not the Minister feels that to be the case. I find myself in a great deal of agreement with my noble friend who moved the amendment.
My Lords, I am very grateful to my noble friend for moving the amendment. As I am following on from my noble friend Lord Selborne, in some ways there is little more to add. I take the point of the noble Lord, Lord Greenway. We have had many debates in the Chamber on what to do about international shipping and I suspect that when the marine Bill comes along this issue will be raised again very fully.
The amendment does not tie the Government as tightly as the previous one. We have time, a five-year period, in which to look at it and to see what can be developed internationally. When we have the Climate Change Bill before us, it is a great shame that we do not take the opportunity to use it for the betterment of everyone concerned. On a previous amendment, I said that we should not forget that our Government and our country are taking a great lead on climate change, and not to have something similar to the amendment proposed by my noble friend would be regrettable.
I appreciate that the question of how one regulates it is difficult. As the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, said in regard to the import and export of goods, shipping often moves through several different phases; it is not only a one-stop journey but will involve other ports of call on the way. Getting around that will be quite a challenge.
The amendment is certainly worth considering. The Minister clearly was not happy to accept the previous amendment, but if he is not able to take on board some of the proposals within the amendment, I hope that when he comes to reply he will give good reasons why not. I felt that his reply to the previous amendment was, “We do not really like it and therefore we are not going to take it on board”. This amendment is slightly more generous and more flexible than the other one and I hope that he will justify more fully why he cannot accept it—if, indeed, he cannot—but obviously our hope is that he will.
My Lords, the arguments against inclusion seem to confuse two completely different issues. The first is whether aviation and shipping should be included in the carbon account. The second is whether we are ready to include aviation and shipping in a system of penalties and incentives such as the ETS. Because the answer to the second is no, we say that we cannot include the emissions in the account. I really do not understand the logic of that. The emissions are the emissions, and that should mean everything that is emitted. There will be a number of categories of emissions that initially will not be strongly controlled or will not be controlled at all, and this is just another of them.
It is not difficult to estimate what the emissions are for aviation and shipping, although it may not be exactly the same metric that we come to use when we get to the ETS. My argument is that we should put them into the account while the work goes on to find a method of controlling them. In the mean time, we will rely, in the case of aviation, on recasting air passenger duty as best we can so that it reflects CO2 emissions, not simply the number of people, as is already being planned. I would separate out completely what is in the account and the method by which we then seek to control the emissions in question.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Turnbull, has just said much more gracefully and forcefully what I would have wished to say. I also think the amendment nods gently, and with an appropriately drawn timescale, in the direction in which we ought to be going. I hope that it will be passed.
My Lords, there seems to be a wide measure of consensus in favour of this measure and of moving gently in the right direction, as the previous speaker has just said. I wish to say only that my noble friend Lady Byford is supporting it, and I thank my noble friend Lord Taylor for moving it and for the way he described what we are trying to achieve. I hope that if he divides the House, this way will be the alternative to that proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, in his previous amendment, which was not passed.
My Lords, as I understand the amendment, in substance it has two elements to it. One is that it reframes aviation and shipping in terms of passengers and goods and services; and the other is that it inserts the word “must” instead of “may”. I hope I have got that right.
The first of those is an interesting proposition to put before your Lordships. The question is whether that distinction between the movement of people and the movement of goods and services makes more sense than the distinction between the means by which the movement takes place, whether by air or by sea—or, internally, by rail. I will listen with great interest to what the Minister says about that.
With regard to aviation, on many occasions an aircraft will carry both goods and people. International aviation agreements are emerging in Europe, but it would be difficult to have one system of measuring or taking account of the movement of goods by air and another for measuring travel by land to ensure that the emissions are the same, which I understand to be the objective of the noble Lord’s amendment. Either there has to be a system that counts only emissions from air travel—they are calculated on the amount of fuel used and are the same whether goods or people are being carried—or you try to find a way of distinguishing between carrying goods and services and carrying people. I am not making the point very easily. There is an attempt to say that the issue is not of aviation or of shipping, but of moving people or moving goods and services. I am not sure, in practical terms, whether that is a workable process.
I will not comment too much on “must” or “may”, other than to make a general comment about this particular clause and the desire in the Bill—which the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, most forcefully expressed in his frustration as he wound up on the previous vote—to say, no doubt in the face of pressures, that we as an individual country must take responsibility for every emission, even if some emissions are best dealt with in an international environment, as within Europe. The clause as it stands gives a great deal of credence to that view. I suggest that it is entirely possible that we could well distinguish between those emissions that we are best at dealing with as a country and those emissions that are best dealt with in international agreements. The latter group should be dealt with in that environment, and we should not pretend that we can say that these are British emissions as opposed to French or German emissions—not least because the emitters will be free to trade in any case, and the actual emissions will be quite beyond our control in international agreements.
The saving grace for me in the clause is that it says those necessary orders “may” be made. I have just a slight concern, although I may have misinterpreted this, that saying “must” means that we must say what the UK emissions are. I shall give the kind of examples that have already been given. If I and my family decide to go to India and do not fly direct from London to Delhi but go via Amsterdam, what are the UK emissions? If a Chinese or American visitor decides that they will be put off by passenger duty and will go to or from their country via Dubai, Paris or Frankfurt, what are the UK emissions? There are real problems here, and the clause does not do a great deal to deter the idea that we should perhaps distinguish between emissions. I suspect that the climate change committee will distinguish between those emissions that fall within an international agreement and those that do not. For that reason, I hope that when the Minister responds to this he is able to cope on the may/must issue. I will be interested to see what his answer to that point is.
My Lords this has been a useful debate. As has been said, there are two amendments here which would make key changes to the Bill. The first, which has been concentrated on to a large extent, would replace the concept of international aviation and shipping emissions with emissions from international passenger travel and imports or exports of goods.It would also put a time limit of five years on the Secretary of State’s ability to exclude the emissions from our targets or require him to come down to Parliament after five years if they had not been included.
I appreciate the spirit of the noble Lord’s amendment. It has just been commented on in the Lobby—votes are useful for having a chat with people—that the amendment is very clever; it is trying to address the practical problems we looked at in Committee. We accept that. For the most part, the amendment grapples with precisely the same issues that I understand the Government grappled with when drafting the clause in the first place. I agree that one possible way of including the emissions in the Bill is through the categorisation described in the amendment; that is, passenger travel or freight.
I assure the House that Clause 25 is drafted sufficiently widely that, should we decide that the amendment is the most appropriate way forward—I have indicated that it has a lot going for it—it would be perfectly possible to define the emissions in the way that the noble Lord suggested. However, there could be practical problems—we will find this all the way through not just the Bill but also the way in which we operate the policies—in relation to transport carrying both passengers and freight; for example, a boat with passengers and freight. The amendment might also risk international rail transport via Eurotunnel being included in measures to combat emissions from shipping and aviation industries on the grounds that Eurotunnel also carries international passengers and freight.
My notes go to greater length, but I do not see the need to go further into them because I am offering practical arguments. Contrary to what the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, said, I do not do so because I do not like the amendment; I am trying to give practical reasons why we cannot accept it, as I did in the case of Amendment No. 64. I do not want to nitpick this amendment because, as I have said, the noble Lord’s formulation, which we believe can be covered by the Bill as drafted, may—to use an analogy used in another context earlier today—provide a lifeboat for the way in which we come to a solution.
Amendment No. 116 would set a time limit for including the emissions in our targets, or require the Secretary of State to explain to Parliament why they had not been included. I again sympathise with the noble Lord’s intention. As has been indicated in the speeches made, the House shares the desire to tackle emissions from the sectors concerned as quickly and comprehensively as possible. I believe that there is also a strong measure of agreement that they are best tackled internationally; I do not think that anyone is arguing for completely unilateral measures. However, we come back to the same question as to the best way to reflect the points in the Bill in the first place.
I make it clear that we have no problem with the idea of parliamentary scrutiny on the issue; indeed, the Government’s own amendments would strengthen Parliament’s role. The Bill already provides considerable scope for further parliamentary debate on the issues; for instance, in the context of the Government’s orders setting carbon budgets, or amending the level of the 2050 target, which must be passed by affirmative resolution.
However, as we have already discussed, the problem with setting any arbitrary deadline, which is what the five years proposed by the amendment is, is precisely that: it is purely arbitrary. We need to have a better reason for having a deadline that might cause us problems. We do not want to suggest to our partners in the international negotiations that we are being driven by an artificial domestic deadline rather than a desire to achieve the right global solution, as that could cause a problem for our credibility in negotiations. To avoid that risk, we are looking, as we indicated in response to the previous amendment, to maintain as much flexibility as possible to include these emissions when the context is right.
However, I assure the House that we will not delay. When it is possible to move forward, we will do so. For instance, with international aviation emissions, we have already said that once the European Union emissions trading rules have been finalised, we will ask the Committee on Climate Change for its advice on the methodology. The timing for this will depend on progress at EU level, but we hope that the emissions trading rules will be finalised during this calendar year. We do not wish to pre-empt the committee’s advice, but we would expect to be in a position to decide whether to include international aviation emissions in our targets ahead of the second carbon budget under the Bill, which runs from 2013 to 2017. The situation with respect to international shipping emissions is more complex, as we have already discussed, but I hope that my answer provides noble Lords with some reassurance.
We have always said that we want this to be a genuinely transparent process. I can confirm that the Government would be happy to provide regular information to Parliament on progress in the European and international discussions on international aviation and shipping. This should provide greater transparency. I hope that this would reassure both your Lordships and Members of the other place that they would be kept fully and regularly up to date on the international negotiations as they develop. I hope that the assurances that I have provided about our commitment to take action on these emissions will persuade the noble Lord not to press his amendment.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response. He has left me feeling that, if only I had time, I could almost convince him to accept the amendments. I think that he can see what we are seeking to do, and I think that he recognises that the Government’s proposals in the Bill cramp the resolution of the problem. Although he said that it is perfectly possible to introduce a system which reflects the terms of the amendments on the basis of the wording that is already in the Bill, I suspect that he can see that the mechanism that we propose has a number of advantages. It is designed to address an area of omission. As the noble Lord, Lord Turnbull, pointed out, the omission is that nothing will be on the carbon account until something comes up under the Bill.
The amendment is designed to address not just aviation and shipping; it is designed to include the Channel Tunnel and Eurostar as part and parcel of the United Kingdom’s carbon account. It is designed to do so in a way that clearly recognises the different routes that goods and people take in coming to and going from this country.
It is most important to emphasise that the amendment depends on international agreement no more than the Bill itself. In presenting the Bill, the Minister did not say, “Well, this Bill is dependent upon other countries agreeing to do the same thing”. He quite rightly came to the House and said, “This is taking a lead on these issues. This is actually presenting a new way of dealing with a problem which is international in scope, but in which we can play our part”. I therefore say to your Lordships that it is quite right to try to work with the amendment, in the belief that it will make for better legislation and might encourage the development of international agreement.
My Lords, I feel as though I need to say this because the noble Lord has obviously cut the ground from under me, although I do not want it to be agreed that he has. While the Government are boasting about giving a lead by introducing the Bill unilaterally, without having had international negotiation—as long as one does not count the devolved Administrations—it does not mean that, when we go to the detail of the Bill, requiring international co-operation to get the right methodologies is not the right way to do it. We can be unilateral in giving the lead in introducing the Bill and the concept of the way in which we are trying to deal with climate change, but we need to operate with our international partners on the minutiae of the methodology.
My Lords, I agree with the Minister. It would be far more desirable when we come to the second element of what we are trying to do, which is to find control mechanisms, to have international agreement to implement them. But as the noble Lord, Lord Turnbull, pointed out—and he was supported by the noble Lord, Lord May—there are two separate issues. Do you include the carbon polluting elements of the British economy in our carbon accounts or not? If we can find a mechanism that does so in a much more comprehensive way, I think that noble Lords should support such a mechanism. That would not penalise the UK economy, but would lead to mechanisms to encourage the least polluting methods of goods movement and people movement.
I now turn to the second part of what is an important point to emphasise. I have valued the contributions of the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer, to debates throughout the Bill. He got to the heart of the issue and could see the advantages of this way of looking at things. But he too was worried about the “may” and “must” element within this group of amendments. One needs a stick as well as a carrot. Legislation that actually says “must” is a stick, but it is designed to drive the issue. If the issue is not driven there is no incentive for the Government to recognise the seriousness of the issue and they can defer decisions.
On this side of the House, we readily recognise that international negotiations, in the nature of things, mean that sometimes it may not be the right moment. The reason why we have chosen five years is that that takes us into the second budget period. Subsection (5)(b) of Amendment No. 116 states that the Secretary of State must,
“lay before … Parliament a report explaining why the regulations have not been laid within”,
a five-year period. We recognise that there may be circumstances where it is not in the national interest to lay these regulations, but we are obliging the Secretary of State not to take the option “may”, but “must” reason with Parliament about why regulations have not been laid. That is a reasonable balance between pressure within the Bill to come to an agreement on regulations and the Secretary of State's discretion that this may not be the right and proper time to do so.
The amendments would substantially improve the Bill and would be a mechanism that Governments in future would value. For that reason, I beg leave to test the opinion of the House.
* [The Tellers for the Contents reported 191 votes; the Clerks recorded 190 names.]
[Amendment No. 66 not moved.]
67: Clause 12, page 7, line 8, leave out “budgetary period in which the year falls” and insert “year”
68: Clause 12, page 7, line 11, leave out “budgetary period” and insert “year”
On Question, amendments agreed to.
[Amendment No. 69 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]
69A: Clause 12, page 7, line 12, at end insert—
“(7A) It must state—
(a) the amount of net UK emissions of each targeted greenhouse gas for the year 1990, and(b) a baseline amount for each greenhouse gas that is not a targeted greenhouse gas, determined on such basis as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.(7B) The amount referred to in subsection (7A)(b) may be—
(a) the amount of net UK emissions of the gas for the year 1990 or a different year, or(b) the average amount of net UK emissions of the gas for a number of years.”
The noble Lord said: My Lords, government Amendment No. 69A seeks to provide greater transparency about progress in reducing UK emissions by requiring the Secretary of State to report on baseline emissions as well as emissions in the most recent year.
This amendment ensures that the Clause 12 report will contain information for each greenhouse gas on emissions in both the most recent year and the relevant baseline. I say the relevant baseline because for greenhouse gases included in our targets Clause 20 allows the Secretary of State to define this as a year other than 1990 for greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide. We will come to this clause later when we can discuss the safeguards to ensure that it is used appropriately.
Equally, for greenhouse gases which we have not yet included in our targets the appropriate base year may be 1990 or it may not. Government Amendment No. 69A allows the most appropriate year to be used. This is particularly important in the case of any new greenhouse gases which might be identified some time between now and 2050.
Noble Lords may recall that Clause 73 allows us to add to the list of greenhouse gases if climate science develops so that we would be required to report on the UK’s emissions of these gases. If that were the case it is possible to envisage a situation where we do not have any data for the emissions of that gas in 1990.
Government Amendment No. 69A therefore ensures that for greenhouse gases which have not yet been included in our targets information will be provided on both emissions in the most recent year and the relevant baseline year, as defined by the Secretary of State. Our amendment recognises that the baseline year may not be 1990. I beg to move.
My Lords, this amendment adds welcome precision to the annual reporting mechanism. It places a duty on the Secretary of State to outline the net UK emissions of targeted greenhouse gases with respect to the 1990 baseline as well as specifying a baseline amount for those greenhouse gases that are not directly targeted under the Bill as it stands. This is certainly a welcome concession.
We are thankful that the Government have recognised the need to have more robust reports and welcome the amendment. It is obviously important to have the emissions reported against the framework of a baseline year. That is how our yearly progress is ultimately to be measured. When we speak of the reporting mechanisms and how we are to understand our progress, we in this House understand the importance of the figures. However, the numbers that are being reported are not always intelligible to the general public. It is important that the reports have regard to the baseline year so that popular understanding of how progress is measured can be fostered to the fullest extent.
It is also very welcome to see the Government’s move to include the non-targeted greenhouse gases. We understand that all greenhouse gases contribute to climate change to a varying degree. As technology develops, other gases could begin to take a more central role. Thus, understanding the true scope of greenhouse gas emissions, even if they are not being targeted at the moment, will be a useful tool in assessing our progress and our room for improvement in the future. We suspect that in 20 or 30 years’ time, other gases will become more important. Having a robust method of reporting on non-targeted gases will allow us to understand the relationships between our efforts to reduce emissions and the reduction of these gases.
We have a few concerns, and I hope that the Minister will address them. The amendment specifies that non-targeted greenhouse gases will be reported according to a baseline that the Secretary of State considers appropriate. What are the standards of appropriateness? What regard will the Secretary of State have to international agreements? Will he be obliged to follow the lead of international treaties? Why is that not part of the amendment? Does he expect the setting of the baseline date to be done in consultation with the Committee on Climate Change? Would the Minister be willing to give assurances that the Secretary of State will consult the Committee on Climate Change regarding the baseline year for non-targeted greenhouse gases? Importantly, what is the timeframe for establishing the baseline year?
My Lords, we on these Benches also welcome the amendment in general terms, and I would make many similar comments to those of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor—although I will not repeat them—about choosing the baseline year and keeping it in an international context. We would like to see more targeted greenhouse gases, but we will come on to that later.
It is important that all greenhouse gases, by international convention, are measured against a 1990 baseline, and that is recognised in the amendment. But there should be a hierarchy of preferences for new gases so that, as the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, said, it is the same as international convention. It is much more straightforward if we are able to keep to 1990. Clearly, that will not be possible where records do not exist for that gas at the time, but there should always be a preference to keep the baseline year at 1990 in order to ensure that the whole process is not confused. Even now, we often forget that when we talk about targets and reductions we are referring to 1990 and not to the year in which this Bill is likely to be passed.
My Lords, I am grateful for the support for the amendment. To answer the specific questions, the government amendment covers both greenhouse gases that are included in our targets and gases that are not included. For the greenhouse gases that are included in the targets, Clause 20 sets out a process for defining the base year. We will come to government amendments on this clause shortly, which will strengthen the independent scrutiny of how these powers are used. The second part of Amendment No. 69A relates only to greenhouse gases that are not included in our targets. We are talking only about reporting emissions, not how we count them towards the targets. We think that it is important that the Government should report to Parliament on the emissions of greenhouse gases even if they are not included in our targets, which will ensure the maximum transparency. The amendment ensures that Parliament will get information on emissions in the most recent year and emissions in the baseline year to make comparing the two straightforward.
We have to be realistic about this. This was once hinted at in Committee. Let us suppose that we identify a new greenhouse gas, the by-product of some industrial process that we have not got on the radar at the moment, in 2030. There might not be any information on emissions of that gas as far back as 1990, so a different baseline would be appropriate. Clause 73(3) allows us to include other gases in the Bill and in our reports under the Bill only if there is an EU or international agreement that it is a greenhouse gas. The point is that it is about the safeguards; there will be appropriate safeguards. It is important that we are happy to consider these points. The specific question that the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, asked me is not covered in my notes, but to me it beggars belief that the Secretary of State would not consult the climate change committee.
On Question, amendment agreed to.
70: Clause 12, page 7, line 13, leave out subsection (8)
On Question, amendment agreed to.