EAC 20.09.04


The international challenge of Climate Change:
UK leadership in the G8 and EU

The Environment Audit Committee is launching today a new inquiry on the challenges posed by Climate Change and the need to begin negotiating an international framework to succeed Kyoto and bring about more radical cuts in carbon emissions.  The inquiry will build on work the Committee has already done on energy policy issues and the scope for including aviation within the EU Emissions Trading System.

The overall objective of the inquiry will be to assess the feasibility of emissions trading systems (including Contraction and Convergence) as a framework for negotiating a post-Kyoto agreement. It will examine whether such systems can be enforced and the practical difficulties involved, taking account of what has been learned from the development of the EU ETS and the growth of carbon trading initiatives such as the Chicago Climate Exchange. From this perspective, the Committee will examine the objectives to be pursued by the UK during its presidencies in 2005 of both the G8 and the EU, and the contribution of the various departments involved such as the FCO, DEFRA, HMT, DfT, and DFID.

In particular, the Committee is interested in:

  • whether an international ETS is feasible, given that targets and compliance penalties would need to be rigidly enforced and bearing in mind the political pressures to which an international ETS would be subject;

  • what other alternatives to an international ETS exist; and whether an ETS would be more effective than such alternatives in maximising carbon reductions worldwide and in channelling investment in low-carbon technologies into less developed countries;

  • what approach and specific objectives in relation to climate change the UK Government should adopt during its presidency of the G8 and EU in 2005; and

  • what contribution individual departments can make (eg. FCO, DEFRA, HMT, DfT, and DFID), and whether they are sufficiently 'joined-up' in delivering a coherent UK agenda.

The Committee expects to take oral evidence on this inquiry In November and December.

Written evidence should be sent to the Committee by Friday 29th October 2004,  preferably by e-mail to eacom@parliament.uk (with a hard copy by post).   A brief guidance note on the preparation and submission of evidence is available on the Committee's web pages.  For further information on the Committee's inquiry, please telephone 020-7219-1378.