Clause 80 - Acquisition of rights to use upstream petroleum infrastructure

Part of Energy Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 16th June 2011.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Leader of the Green Party 5:00 pm, 16th June 2011

I am grateful that the Minister acknowledges that we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, but the word that we disagree about is “gradually”. Climate change cannot wait for us to gradually wean ourselves off fossil fuels. He said that it is not realistic to go faster, but I think it is not realistic to believe that the climate will wait until we finally garner the political will to deal with this differently. I strongly argue that were the political will there, we could certainly wean ourselves off fossil fuels much more quickly and go much more rigorously towards the alternative, be that distributed energy, renewable energy or energy efficiency. It is clear that I will not persuade him and he will not persuade me.

To my mind, the clause and the rest of the chapter are essentially about facilitating access to the remaining oil reserves, and that is incredibly dangerous. The scientists  are already telling us that we are very unlikely to be able to stay beneath the 2° so-called threshold, given the trajectories that we are all on. We also hear from scientists that the 2° threshold is not the distinction between acceptable climate change on one hand and dangerous climate change on the other, but between dangerous climate change and very dangerous climate change. I regret that I need to detain the Committee, because I am not sure that I will get much support from other Opposition Members, but to make my point I want to object to the clause and press it to a Division.