PN060705EA

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01

WEDNESDAY 6 JULY 2005

AS THE GLENEAGLES SUMMIT STARTS LORDS PRESS FOR UK GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW ITS CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

The UK Government should review its climate change policy, including the roles of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The UK should also take a lead − especially through its current presidency of the G8 and EU − in international negotiations to explore new approaches to dealing with global warming, notably agreements on carbon-free technology and its diffusion, according to a report by the Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

Lord Wakeham, the Chairman of the Committee, said:

"We call on the Government to give the Treasury a more extensive and more rigorous role in examining the costs and benefits of climate change policy and presenting them to the UK public."

"We are also concerned about aspects of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) and want to see the Treasury more involved in this."

The Committee concluded that:

  • The science of climate change leaves considerable uncertainty about the future.

  • The balance between mitigation and adaptation needs to be re-examined. The costs of mitigation are uncertain, as are the benefits which are also more distant. Adaptation − including for instance flood defences and water conservation − has recognisable costs and calculable benefits.

  • Because the Kyoto Protocol will make little difference to rates of warming and because a continuation of the same approach focusing excessively on emission reductions is likely to fail, the UK should take a lead in exploring alternative approaches based on agreements on carbon-free technology and its diffusion.

  • There are concerns about the objectivity of the IPCC process and about the IPCC's crucial emissions scenario exercise.

  • Positive aspects of global warming appear to have been downplayed in IPCC reports. The Government should press the IPCC to reflect the costs and benefits of climate change in a more balanced way.

  • The Government should review its energy and climate policy which includes some dubious assumptions about the roles of renewable energy sources and of energy efficiency.

  • The Government should review and substantiate the estimated costs of achieving its objectives, and present these estimates transparently to the public.

  • UK nuclear power capacity should be maintained at least at its present level, even after existing plants have been decommissioned.

  • The current UK Climate Change Levy should be replaced by a carbon tax as soon as possible.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The Members of the Economic Affairs Committee on this inquiry were:

€ Lord Elder

Lord Goodhart

Lord Kingsdown

Lord Lamont of Lerwick

Lord Lawson of Blaby

Lord Layard

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston

€ Lord Marsh

*Lord Paul

*Lord Powell of Bayswater

Lord Sheldon

Lord Sheppard of Didgemere

Lord Skidelsky

Lord Vallance of Tummel

Lord Wakeham (Chairman)

€ Until 11 April 2005

*From 6 June 2005

The specialist adviser to the inquiry was Professor David Pearce OBE, Emeritus Professor, University College London.

2. The report is published by the Stationery Office: The Economics of Climate Change, House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, 2nd Report, Session 2005−06, HL Paper 12-I, ISBN 010 400719 2, price £14.50.

For embargoed reports contact: Jillian Bailey on 020 7219  8659.

For further information contact: Robert Graham-Harrison, Clerk to the Committee, on 020 7219 5208.     

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