Greenhouse Effect

Oral Answers to Questions — Energy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1989.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 12:00 am, 24th July 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of electricity.

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

Current policies and initiatives are intended to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. The encouragement of cost-effective energy efficiency measures, the development of renewable energy resources, our support for nuclear power, and the diversified and efficient supply options in the Electricity Bill are a firm basis for any future action.

Photo of Kevin Barron Kevin Barron Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

Without repeating what has been said already, is not the hon. Gentleman's answer unconvincing when we recall that on Thursday the Government removed from the Electricity Bill the only real teeth in that measure for ensuring that there is energy efficiency and conservation?

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

The hon. Gentleman knows that the Electricity Bill, which we shall be debating further later this afternoon, has two major features connected with energy efficiency. The first feature is that the entire industry is to be restructured to bring forward the most efficient forms of energy production. Secondly, for the first time in the United Kingdom's history, we shall have built into legislation requirements on the regulator to promote the interests of energy efficiency. That is a major step forward. It is extraordinary that the Opposition still fail to understand that important point.

Mr. Alan W. Williams:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what research has been conducted into British public attitudes towards the role of nuclear power in tackling the greenhouse effect; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

No such research has been carried out on behalf of my Department.

Mr. Williams:

Does the Minister recognise that no matter how often he, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Environment—or perhaps the ex-Secretary of State—repeat the nonsense that nuclear power is the solution to the greenhouse effect, the general public have rumbled them and believe that spending money on energy conservation rather than nuclear power makes much better economic sense and plays a much greater part in tackling the greenhouse effect?

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

The Government agree that energy efficiency has its part to play, which is precisely why I gave the answer that I did to the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron). The hon. Gentleman, for various reasons, may not like the nuclear industry, but I am surprised that he is not prepared to accept the facts. Electricity produced through the nuclear industry accounts for only 4 per cent. of CO2 emissions even taking into account the Friends of the Earth figures. That is far less than the level produced by the coal industry. If the hon. Gentleman cannot understand that fact, I cannot understand how he can raise such a question.