Sixth Carbon Budget

Transport – in the House of Commons on 22nd October 2020.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on including (a) international aviation and (b) shipping emissions in the sixth carbon budget.

Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Ministers have regular discussions about our ambitions for the sixth carbon budget and net zero target.

Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

I am pleased to hear it, but what are the results of those discussions? Aviation accounts for 8% of our UK emissions and international flights for 80% of that, so is it not time that the Government actually acted on the recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change and included those emissions in carbon budgets, so that we can face up to our climate responsibilities?

Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point. Emissions are a global problem and they require a global solution. The UK is working with international partners, and leading with international partners, through organisations such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation, and I think that that is the approach we should take.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

Can I get some clarity on the timing of this? In last week’s response to the Committee on Climate Change, the Government said that we would ideally be looking at negotiating a long-term emissions reduction goal for aviation at ICAO in 2022, and that we would be working at the IMO in advance of its revising its strategy for shipping in 2023. That would all be too late to put anything in the sixth carbon budget, particularly if there is insufficient progress at those talks. It would push action into the 2040s. Why are the Government stalling when it is very clear that we need action on international aviation and shipping emissions now?

Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

It is important to realise that the Government are not stalling. When we look at the leading role that the Government have in both of those organisations and the progress on programmes such as the carbon offsetting scheme for international aviation, we can see that the Government are driving ahead and taking their international partners with them.