Climate Change Bill [HL]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Shadow Minister, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; Conservative)
Sub-paragraph (3) outlines the different areas that must be taken into account when appointing members to the committee. It is extensive and, by and large, we feel that it is a good list. However, there seems to be one rather important gap: the environment. The aim of the Bill is to stop climate change. Surely the aim of stopping climate change is to protect the environment and the inhabitants of it. Thus, we feel that it is very important for the nomination process to consider environmental science, which we know is a very broad term, when selecting members.
Because the efforts to reduce carbon emissions will be immensely wide ranging, it will be important to have expertise on the committee able to give advice and make decisions on the impact of climate change and our efforts to stop it on the environment. As the list of different kinds of experience already includes many of the areas on which proposals on climate change and its reduction will have an impact, we expect that adding this extra one should not create too much controversy. If the Minister feels that the committee should not seek to find someone with experience in environmental science, I should be very interested to know his reasons why.
Amendment No. 130 in this group, which is tabled by Liberal Democrat Members, seeks a similar goal, but it is far more prescriptive. We certainly support the spirit of that amendment, but we feel that having a more open term would give those involved in the nominations procedure more flexibility. Is the Minister willing to comment on the degree of flexibility on appointments that he hopes will exist in the nomination procedure? Is the idea behind the clause to provide rather strict guidelines on appointments, such as that only people who are genuinely qualified for the specific tasks are nominated, or is it more flexible? I note the comments made by the Minister in response to previous amendments this afternoon. Which does he think the more desirable? I beg to move.