Climate Change Bill [HL]
Lord Redesdale (Spokesperson in the Lords (Agriculture & Energy), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; Liberal Democrat)
I shall speak to Amendment No. 32; it follows the gist of the other amendments, which we support from these Benches. This issue has been brought up before. The Secretary of State is given the responsibility for the whole of the carbon emissions. According to the figures that I have here, the energy industry is worth 37.4 per cent, road transport 21.6 per cent, other industries 17.8 per cent, residential 14.9 per cent and agriculture is at around 15 per cent. Obviously those figures change on a year-by-year basis. Of course, road transport has its own department. Energy is under DBERR and residential under DCLG. Even though there is discussion of ministerial responsibilities, the problem for any Minister is that those other industries will have different targets. I could understand if the Secretaries of State of each department were given the responsibility and a binding target to meet the obligations that are set out, but that is not how the Bill is constructed at present. That feeds back into the argument about whether the Prime Minister should have overall responsibility.
The issue with sectoral targets is that by giving sectors targets, each of those Ministers would have the same responsibility as the Secretary of State for Defra in meeting the obligations set out by the Committee on Climate Change. They are not easy targets to meet. We are talking about 21.6 per cent of road transport, but does anyone in the Committee believe that, because of carbon, there will be a massive reduction in road transport on that basis? There will have to be long-term policies, which are difficult to implement, as we have found. As the congestion charge has shown, it is difficult to bring about a reduction in traffic, keep that reduction static and reducing on a regular basis. On that basis, I hope that the Government will look favourably at the amendments.