Energy Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:00 pm on 12th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Liberal Democrat 8:00 pm, 12th April 2016

My Lords, I rise to speak to the amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington. Perhaps I can reassure the noble Lord, Lord Howell, as she has, that this amendment does not specifically help the steel industry or, necessarily, the size of the budget from the Climate Change Act. I guess that an amendment back on Report would have been needed to do that. This amendment would make sure that we repatriate entirely the powers to create our own carbon budget. So in fact it is a step towards what the noble Lord, Lord Howell, would want. Ironically, when we debated the Climate Change Bill I raised this matter specifically a number of times, but unfortunately the Labour Government of the time did not want to hear about it. I do not think that they necessarily understood it themselves. However, we now need to make a change. This should not be a party- political issue at all. It is about making a budget something that we could set ourselves and measure against our national performance. That is what we are trying to do.

In a way, I regret that we are not debating the original amendment, perhaps understandably amended to exclude the fifth carbon budget, for the reasons that have been explained. When we are tackling climate change and trying to get everybody to help, it is really important to make measuring our carbon emissions transparent, straightforward and easy, so that they mean what most people would understand them to mean: that the carbon emissions we create within the boundaries of the United Kingdom from products, services and industry are what our carbon budget measures. At the moment, that is not the case: it is only so for about half of it. The rest of it just reflects the European Emissions Trading Scheme settlement.

I fully support this amendment and hope that the Government will accept it as a way forward. There is no party angle to it whatever. All it would do is ensure that our UK emissions count against our UK carbon budget under the Climate Change Act. It would make government policy on climate change simple, straight- forward and manageable.