Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Climate change: international climate policy post-2012

Inquiry update

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has decided not to continue with its inquiry into Climate change: International climate policy post-2012.

On 3 October the Prime Minister created a new Department of Energy and Climate Change. Among the responsibilities of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that passed to the new Department were those relating to climate change. The Committee’s task is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of Defra on behalf of the House.  Given this change in its remit, the Committee agreed on 7 October not to proceed further with the inquiry. The written evidence received has been sent to the House of Commons Library.

Terms of reference

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launched a series of linked inquiries into aspects of climate change policy in December 2005. These inquiries aim to address three broad themes in turn:

- The role of renewable energy in meeting the UK’s climate change aims, with specific reference to biomass and biofuels-terms of reference were announced in December 2005. Oral and written evidence has been taken and the Committee is currently preparing its report.

- The “citizen’s agenda”-actions which individuals, local communities, schools and businesses can take in their daily lives to help tackle climate change, including microgeneration-terms of reference were announced on 15th June 2006.

- International climate policy post-2012-the operation of the “Kyoto rulebook” agreed at Montreal and future developments in preparing for Phase 2 of Kyoto after 2012

The third theme which the Committee will address is international climate policy post-2012.  Written submissions were invited on the issues set out below:

1) What role should the UK Government play in driving international action on climate change? How effective a leader has the UK Government been?

2) Could climate change policy be better led or more effectively co-ordinated across Government departments in the UK?

3) How can the climate policies adopted by those countries with targets under Kyoto, non-signatories such as the USA, and developing countries, be aligned? What kind of frameworks could form the basis for international consensus on GHG emissions targets? Is international consensus on climate change reduction strategies necessary or achievable?

4) How important are Kyoto’s binding GHG targets in driving technological innovation and the development of carbon markets? Could Kyoto-style national caps on emissions be usefully supplemented or even replaced by other forms of targets?

5) Are current mechanisms for supporting technology innovation and transfer under the Convention and Kyoto adequate? What role has the Clean Development Mechanism played in the development and deployment of low carbon technologies in the developing world? How can further progress be secured?

6) How can the Convention and Phase II of Kyoto better support the integration of climate protection measures with the poverty reduction and sustainable development goals of developing countries? To what extent could a focus on adaptation, energy access and security issues in international climate policy promote more concerted action by such countries? 

7) What contribution has Kyoto made in terms of securing a fair, comprehensive and environmentally effective global climate protection regime? What are the merits of alternative approaches and frameworks and how feasible are they?

8) What have international and regional initiatives outside the Kyoto protocol, such as the Asia-Pacific Partnership and the Gleneagles Dialogue, achieved to date? What contribution should such initiatives be expected to make towards the development of climate policy in the short, medium and long term?

The Committee understands that a broad review of the Kyoto Protocol may be launched at the second Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol, to be hosted by Kenya in November 2006. Submitters of written evidence are welcome to submit supplementary evidence after the November meeting, to take account of further developments.

The deadline for submissions was Friday 5th January 2007.

Press Notices

21/10/08   Inquiry update
25/07/06   New inquiry