Schedule 4

Climate Change Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 3rd July 2008.

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Trading schemes: powers to require information

Question proposed, That the schedule be the Fourth schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I would like to revert to my earlier comments, without expanding too much on them. Reading schedule 4, it seems to assume and set out certain types of trading schemes—relating in particular to electricity suppliers and electricity distributors. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s conclusions questioned the EU emissions trading scheme already covering a large proportion of heavy industries and representing about half of UK emissions. Also, perhaps within that scheme, the Government propose to introduce a new carbon reduction commitment scheme under the enabling powers of the Bill. That raises an issue in addition to that of personal carbon allowances, which might be introduced.

The Minister could take this opportunity to answer the question of which sectors might remain that would be suitable for an emissions trading scheme established by secondary legislation. Can he think of any other possibilities? As I alluded to earlier, the Select Committee went on to conclude that the enabling powers perhaps should not be within the legislation if there were no other trading schemes or if the Government were unable to say which other trading schemes there might be. Without further elucidation from the Government at this stage, it seems an open-ended power. I would be grateful to the Minister for some clarification.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2:15 pm, 3rd July 2008

The schedule is designed to facilitate the carbon reduction commitment and applies to that. The difficulty is that this is legislation for a long time, so the hon. Lady is right to ask the question. We envisage that the new powers will support the introduction of the CRC, a cap-and-trace scheme, as I said, that will apply to large non-energy-intensive organisations in the public and private sectors. As I think I mentioned before, the powers may also be used to introduce a household energy supplier obligation to succeed the carbon emissions reduction target scheme, which ends in 2011. It is difficult, if not impossible, to specify at this stage how the powers may be used beyond that, as their purpose is to maintain flexibility in supporting activities that will enable us to meet the targets set out in the Bill.

The Bill sets out the framework for 2050, so we take the view that it is important that the powers to introduce further trading schemes exist, even if at this point it is not known how exactly they may be applied in the future. I hope that the procedural points that I made in answer to the hon. Lady’s question on the previous clause also apply here. In layperson’s terms, we do not know yet.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Clauses 50 to 54 ordered to stand part of the Bill.