Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2005-06

25 July 2006

25 July 2006

Climate change: EFRA Committee to examine international climate policy post-2012

Terms of reference and call for evidence

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

Background to the inquiry

Phase I of the Kyoto Protocol sets legally binding greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for developed countries for the 2008-2012 period. It also establishes permanent oversight mechanisms and carbon markets. Although now ratified by over 160 countries, the rejection of the Treaty by a number of countries, most notably the USA, presents environmental, economic and political issues to be addressed as Phase II is developed.

In Montreal in December 2005 the 11th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ('the Convention') and the first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol adopted decisions that will affect the scope, timing and institutional framework of Phase II discussions. Parties to the Convention agreed to convene a "dialogue on strategic approaches for long-term global co-operative action to address climate change", which will run for two years and be supported by "a series of workshops ... to develop the broad range of actions needed to respond to the climate change challenge."

This inquiry will examine the prospects for international agreement under the Convention and Phase II of Kyoto, possible models and timescales for agreement, and the action that the UK Government needs to take to ensure that progress is made.

Call for evidence

The Committee welcomes written evidence on any aspect of international climate policy under the Convention and the Protocol and on the role of the UK Government. Evidence is specifically invited on the following points:

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 is Friday 5th January 2007.


Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to Dr Antonia James at jamesae@parliament.uk. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be as brief as possible, and certainly no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary, ideally no more than one page long.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.


1. For further details about this inquiry, please contact Dr Antonia James, the Committee's Environment Specialist, on 020 7219 2290. Information about the Committee can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/efracom
2. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has previously commented on some of these issues in its 2005 report on Climate change: looking forward, available at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmenvfru/130/13002.htm
3. More information about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol can be found at: http://unfccc.int
4. Climate Change: The UK Programme 2006 was published in March 2006. More details can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/ukccp/index.htm