New Inquiry

For Immediate Release: 18 March 2009

NEW INQUIRY: Carbon Budgets

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is today launching an inquiry into the UK's carbon budgets. This will ask how well the budgets recommended by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) correspond to the emissions reductions required by countries such as the UK to limit global warming to 2oC, the Government's target for "avoiding dangerous climate change".

The inquiry will look at the two suggested targets for 2020, and how these would affect the trajectory required to meet the UK's target for 2050. It will examine the extent to which the emissions reduction pathways set out by the CCC represent both an equitable share of the global effort by the UK, and an economically efficient trajectory for the UK. The Committee will examine the implications of the latest developments in climate science for carbon budgeting policy, and the extent to which the Committee on Climate Change is equipped to take them into account.

The Committee invites organisations and members of the public to submit memoranda setting out their views on these issues. Some specific subjects on which the Committee would welcome comments are set out below, although respondents are free to comment on any issues which they consider relevant:

€ whether the UK's statutory targets for greenhouse gas reductions are consistent with the Government's objective of limiting global warming to no more than 2oC and whether they are enforceable;

€ the extent to which the Committee on Climate Change's recommended budgets to 2020 are consistent with the UK's target for 2050;

€ the suitability of the climate models and the validity of the assumptions used by the Committee on Climate Change in setting carbon budgets;

€ the basis on which the Committee on Climate Change arrived at the UK's share of the global effort to cut emissions;

€ the frequency with which targets and budgets should be reviewed and updated to take account of new scientific evidence;

€ the compatibility of current Government policies with achievement of the overall budget, how individual government departments can ensure policies are consistent with overall carbon budgets, and the potential role of departmental tradable carbon allowances; and

€ the issues around using emissions trading (both credits from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and carbon offset credits) to meet UK carbon budgets, including the standards that should apply to such credits.

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines stated below by Monday, 27 April 2009. Evidence sessions are likely to start in June.

Please note

Each submission should:

€ Be no more than 3,000 words in length;

€ Begin with a short summary in bullet point form;

€ Have numbered paragraphs; and

€ Be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked 'Carbon Budgets Inquiry'. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

Clerk of the Committee
Environmental Audit Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. 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.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee's report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

€ Material published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

€ Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

€ Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

€ Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.


1. Membership:

Chairman: Mr Tim Yeo, MP

Mr Gregory Barker MP Mr Nick Hurd MP Mrs Linda Riordan MP

Mr Martin Caton MP Ms Jane Kennedy MP* Mr Graham Stuart MP

Mr Colin Challen MP Mr Mark Lazarowicz MP Jo Swinson MP

Mr David Chaytor MP Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger MP Dr Desmond Turner MP

Mr Martin Horwood MP Mr Shahid Malik MP Joan Walley MP

* The Minister for the Environment has ex-officio membership of the Committee in like manner to the Financial Secretary's membership of the Committee of Public Accounts.

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