My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend on introducing the order today, including what from our debate are proving challenging targets. I shall restrict my remarks to putting a specific question to my noble friend. Is it not the case that, in the short term, emissions will rise, particularly in the context of hydraulic fracturing for methane gas—an issue raised by other noble Lords? It is generally recognised that it is an inevitable result of fracking that methane will leak out of the natural gas wells at two stages: first, during the well being hydraulically fractured and the methane escaping; and, secondly, during the drill-out following the fracturing, when methane is released into the atmosphere. It is also generally understood that methane can be far more powerful than CO2 in its role in increasing greenhouse gas emissions, which leads to the inevitable warming of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Will my noble friend take the opportunity in summing up the debate on the statutory instrument this afternoon to explain how we are going to meet our targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming by 2020 without inevitably increasing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming by continuing to pledge to fracture in the immediate future?