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Amendment to the Motion

Part of Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019 - Motion to Approve – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Brown of Cambridge Baroness Brown of Cambridge Crossbench 5:45 pm, 26th June 2019

My Lords, I offer the Minister my strongest support for the order.

I remind the House that we are being asked to sign up to a new target, not a new cost. I want to dispel a few misconceptions. The Committee on Climate Change identified the range of costs needed to meet the net zero target as between 1% and 2% of GDP. Those costs are not costs to the Exchequer. Yes, there will be a role for public funding in some areas, such as to avoid a competitiveness impact on the UK manufacturing industry, but the vast majority of the changes will, and should, be delivered through private investment.

I declare an interest as vice-chair of the Committee on Climate Change. In our report, we compare resource cost estimates to GDP to give a sense of scale. It does not follow that the estimates have an impact on GDP. The impact on GDP could easily be positive, as we shift away from using imported fossil fuels, for example, or as we develop newer industries that will boost our productivity and growth as an early supplier of new, low-carbon technologies globally. We need to be very careful in how we think about the numbers.

However, as many noble Lords have indicated, and as the CCC said in its net zero report, changing the target is just the first step and, in many ways, is the easy part. The real challenge will be the swift ramp-up in policy that needs to follow. I have had the honour of being the sector champion for the offshore wind sector deal as part of the Government’s industrial strategy. As the Minister is aware, a major renewable energy conference is under way in London; I believe that he spoke at it today. The conference is exciting; for example, it shows the impact of our investment in offshore wind on UK jobs and companies.

Will the Minister consider a swift and simple indication of the Government’s policy intent to deliver this new net zero target? A simple indication of intent would be removing the six-gigawatt cap for the next round of CfD auctions while offering no additional funding. The offshore wind industry is ready to respond to such an indication. This would be a win-win. It would show the Government’s intention to act swiftly; it would help to create more jobs; and it would deliver more zero-carbon electricity at no additional cost to the Exchequer or the consumer.