Committee (2nd Day)

Part of Energy Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 9th September 2015.

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Photo of Lord Oxburgh Lord Oxburgh Crossbench 5:15 pm, 9th September 2015

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have participated in our lively and interesting set of exchanges, which are too numerous to answer all in detail. However, the noble Lord, Lord Howell, asked about the implications for the North Sea. I probably did not make my submission too clearly, but one of the reasons that CCS is creeping along glacially is that no one can make a business case and there is no investor confidence. A regulation of this kind would plan a clear way forward for industry and CCS would become much more investable for the private sector—and there would be much less dependence on government.

The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, commented on the large scale and expensive nature of CCS. We do not really know what it costs. We know what the operation in Canada has cost, and it is a lot of money. However, there is a hockey stick curve for all these things; they are expensive at first but prices come down. All new technologies and new ways in which to capture carbon would be explored and invigorated with a clear drive from government, and there would be responsibility on companies to find a cheap way of doing this.

The noble Viscount, Lord Ridley, made a number of points, including on the carbon floor price. I am indeed worried about the delay. He commented on the overseas implications. I agree that among the things that we would have to tease out would be the implications for the UK of doing this by itself. What would be the implications for our position more widely? Might we be able to persuade other EU countries to come in on this? For a lot of people, this kind of approach is a no-brainer; it is the obvious, “polluter pays” way forward. I say to the noble Viscount that I never believe the figures on climate projections. He will have noted that, although I mentioned 4 degrees, I did not say when. What is beyond doubt is the direction of change, and cutting down our emissions and putting them out of the way as quickly as possible is a sensible precaution to take.

I thank the Minister for his words.