Energy: Fourth Carbon Report — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 17th May 2011.

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Photo of Lord Prescott Lord Prescott Labour 5:15 pm, 17th May 2011

My Lords, I welcome the Statement. As someone who was a negotiator at Kyoto, I fully recognise the legal framework and commitment to targets. I recognise that the Government are accepting the Committee on Climate Change's recommendation of 50 per cent to 80 per cent change by 2050. That is clearly a very ambitious target. It concerns me that the Government were committed to a legal framework that collapsed at Copenhagen. I worry that they are setting themselves a target for which they might be cheered at the moment but, when they do not achieve it, they will face derision from the NGOs and others. Is the Minister aware that the committee pointed out in its report that it had made such a recommendation to avoid the ups and downs in the global negotiations concerning climate change? It is more than an up and down. What took place at Copenhagen-and was confirmed at Cancun-is a complete reversal. There is no longer a legal framework that will be agreed to for at least a decade; it is now a voluntary one with voluntary targets. What worries me-and I see that the Minister has left the back door open-is that if Europe does not confirm its 30 per cent target, and I do not believe for a moment that it will, we will be faced with changing our position and face derision rather than cheers, which tends to undermine confidence in global negotiations.