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 Lea of Crondall Lord Lea of Crondall Labour 5:15 pm, 17th May 2011

My Lords, I am one of those who have been involved in the programme in one way or another since Rio in 1992. Some of the fiscal questions now being raised are timely. I should like to ask about the relationship between the Government's Statement and the Committee on Climate Change, and which is which. Page 2 of the executive summary indicates that there is an assumption that the price of carbon will rise to £70 a tonne in real terms, on present values, by 2030. You can see that this is necessary to make the arithmetic work. I am rather reminded of doing the national plan in 1965, where we played around with investment numbers and price numbers till everything fitted. We are doing an exercise in looking at numbers that will fit fiscally, but without saying to people what carbon tax they will have to pay in real terms. We must of course be transparent and honest with people. However, a carbon tax-albeit a European one-which I advocated in my maiden speech 11 years ago and I am not against, is a regressive tax. Now is the time to be much more transparent in how all the fiscal arithmetic fits together. There is a growing demand for that, however it is managed. The document is very short on financial figures; it is all tonnages of carbon dioxide. On the financial side, there is scope for a bit more transparency.