Paddy Tipping: It is sometimes argued that social tariffs and renewable obligations are an either/or choice. I was interested in Gaynor Hartnell’s point that you can do both. One criticism is that the Bill does very little to encourage microgeneration. Is the argument that feed-in tariffs are a way of increasing microgeneration?
Paddy Tipping: We have heard a lot about carbon capture and storage from the Carbon Capture and Storage Association. Would colleagues from the oil and gas sector talk to us about the timetables involved, because there are enormous opportunities for you as well, but significant difficulties too? Give us a snapshot of how you see it.
Paddy Tipping: Give us some indications of the time scales.
Paddy Tipping: I would like to return to the discussion you were having with Steve Webb about nuclear. The Government have made it very clear that the funding for new nuclear will come from the private sector. The private sector will have to invest big time to achieve this, and will need some confidence about financial return. The key to that is the pricing of carbon, and a carbon market. The carbon market...
Paddy Tipping: What are the key dates on this?
Paddy Tipping: If there was a specific UK scheme, how would you tackle the charge that this was a subsidy, an underwriting, by another name?
Paddy Tipping: So the promise in the White Paper is meaningless?
Paddy Tipping: You talk about the responsibilities of energy companies. Of course, a high and sustainable price of carbon would force CCS development. Let me turn to the social responsibilities of energy companies. Some of them do pretty well—EDF, E.ON—but others such as npower and Scottish and Southern Energy, although they have low prices, do not do very much on social tariffs. On Second Reading, the...
Paddy Tipping: That is what Fabian socialists do.
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid to (a) farmers and (b) landowners on Common Agricultural Policy support payments in (i) Nottinghamshire and (ii) the East Midlands in the last year for which figures are available.
Paddy Tipping: Whoever is elected as the next President of the United States, is it not important that we maintain a strong and close relationship with such a significant ally? Is not the sign of such a relationship a willingness to discuss areas of difference, for example climate change and the middle east, so that together we can make a difference?
Paddy Tipping: Mr. Buchanan, you gave a curtain-raiser to your appearance before the Committee today in an interview with the Daily Record—I think that it is headlined “Power to the People”—in which you said that customers in Scotland could save £200 million by switching, which you advocate. You also advocate better targeting and identification of customers at risk and better welfare rights advice....
Paddy Tipping: May I ask Mr. Buchanan for his comments?
Paddy Tipping: May I follow up the investment point? The Government have made it clear that there will be no public subsidy, which means that you, Mr. Parker, and you, Mr. Spence, will have to borrow substantial sums from the market. Are you confident that the price of carbon—carbon trading is still in its infancy—is robust and secure enough to bring comfort to investors? Secondly, we have spent a lot...
Paddy Tipping: Is that your view, Mr. Parker?
Paddy Tipping: There is a lot in the Bill about carbon capture and storage. The first issue is that in Greenpeace’s evidence you point out that the technology is not yet proven. The second is, as a matter of principle, do you as a group feel that there is a place for coal that is burned cleanly? Are the measures in the Bill, and the Government’s other measures, sufficient to bring forward new,...
Paddy Tipping: Would you give us a view on a high price for carbon as a driver of technological change?
Paddy Tipping: I wanted to talk about carbon capture and storage and clean coal technology. Before that, can we return to carbon pricing for a moment and talk to colleagues from the TUC about this? It is clear—is it not?—that for new investment in generation, there has to be a high and stable price of carbon in the future? Mr. Pearson, I think, told us that that could be done through the EU emissions...
Paddy Tipping: We are all in favour of carbon capture and storage. Are the measures in the Bill sufficient to bring forward new schemes?
Paddy Tipping: So what more needs to be done to bring forward carbon capture and storage? All our coal plants at the moment are ageing and going to go out of commission. There is a prospect that, unless we can burn coal more cleanly, either via better combustion techniques or post-combustion carbon capture and storage, there will be real problems. What else needs to be done?