Lord Reay: The Climate Change Act Should Be Repealed

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Thursday, 30 June 2011 10:03 Lord Reay, House of Lords

The Climate Change Act should be repealed, its panoply of carbon budgets abandoned, all the agencies such as the climate change committee which drips its advice into the Government’s ear sent packing, and a chance given to our economy to resurrect itself. Otherwise we have a grim and, very likely, a dim future.

House of Lords, 28 June 2011: My Lords, these orders are required under what I view as the Climate Change Act 2008. The Carbon Budget Order sets the limit for our permissible CO2 emissions for the fourth carbon budget as much as 12 to 16 years away, and the Credit Limit Order states the proportion of our second carbon budget, from two to seven years away, that may be met by the use of so-called carbon credits, whereby we pay people in developing countries to do the emission reduction while we carry on doing the emitting.

The explanatory memorandum for the fourth carbon budget order has its usual quota of manifestly untrue assertions, including that on page 1:

“there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that it”-

that is, climate change-

“is being caused by human activity”.

There is certainly no consensus. On page 19 there is the statement:

“The scientific evidence for recent global warming continues to strengthen year on year”.

In fact there has been no global warming for the last 10 years, so even with an elastic definition of the word “recent”, that sentence makes no sense.

The order prescribes what the United Kingdom’s CO2 emissions for the five years from 2013 to 2018 are to be on the way to achieving an 80 per cent reduction by 2050, over 1990 levels. The report of the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee draws attention to the fact that the chances of the United Kingdom staying within that budget will depend on the degree of take-up of the Green Deal, and on early investment in carbon capture and storage. In fact it is quite likely that the public will find the Green Deal unattractively expensive, and where take-up does occur, it may well result not in CO2 emissions savings, but in people choosing to live in warmer homes. CCS is a rash punt by the Government on a scientific breakthrough that will enable it to be rolled out to scale economically. Meanwhile, of course, China rolls out a new coal-fired power station every week, quite uninhibited by any need to wait for carbon capture and storage to be oven-ready. The Merits Committee adds that,

“a key development will be the package of measures to help the energy-intensive industries adjust to the low carbon industrial transformation while remaining competitive”.

This refers to the further contortions that the Government have to make in response to protests from the industry concerned in order to try to offset the effects on them of the carbon tax which the Government propose to introduce. So complicated is that process that the Government want to have until the end of the year to try to work out what to do.

The greatest chance of the Government being able to meet their distant carbon emission targets, including the 80 per cent target in 2050, ironically depends on the failure of the economy to revive. The Climate Change Act, and the policies adopted as a consequence, are doing their very best to bring that about. The Government must sometimes wonder, when by themselves, whether this outcome will please the general public when it becomes apparent and whether this pleasure might ever express itself in the ballot box.

The credit limit order relates to the second carbon budget starting in two years’ time. The Government state in the Explanatory Memorandum that they expect the budget to be met comfortably by territorial emission reduction; that is to say, by emissions calculated to have been reduced on United Kingdom soil and that, therefore, there is likely to be no need to purchase ICUs-international carbon units. The provision in the order is therefore, as my noble friend the Minister said, purely as a contingency.

The Government seem almost wistful about this, regretting this missed opportunity to give support to another foreign aid scheme. On page 6 of the Explanatory Memorandum, they state: “This option”-referring to one of the policy options, policy option 1, which is not the one in effect adopted-

“could signal an increased commitment by the UK government to purchase emissions reductions from developing countries, which would form part of the overall demand signal to the private sector to help drive investment in new projects overseas”.

In fact, the system just introduces new scams and corruption opportunities to developing countries, as if enough were not provided already by our aid budget.

It is not that the opportunities seem confined to developing countries. It was reported in the press that the legislature in Australia was giving consideration to awarding carbon credits for the funding of the extermination of Australia’s 1 million-odd feral camels on the grounds that they were substantial emitters of methane gas and no doubt were a noxious pest in many a constituency in the Outback.

Our Government state, sadly, that they are strongly supportive of the international carbon credit system, notwithstanding the similarity that it seems to bear to the pre-Reformation church, when indulgencies could be bought from Rome to permit sinning at home with a clear conscience. Kyoto is the new Vatican.

The Climate Change Act should be repealed, its panoply of carbon budgets abandoned, all the agencies such as the climate change committee which drips its advice into the Government’s ear sent packing, and a chance given to our economy to resurrect itself. Otherwise we have a grim and, very likely, a dim future.

Lord Reay, House of Lords 28 June 2011

FONTE:http://www.thegwpf.org/opinion-pros-a-cons/3342-lord-reay-the-climate-change-act-should-be-repealed.html