Lords debate the government's green agenda

13 January 2012

Members of the Lords with a range of backgrounds in environmental protection and sustainability including a former Secretary of State for the Environment and leaders of several environmental organisations, debated the government’s green agenda yesterday, Thursday 12 January

Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour) opened the debate on the government's green agenda: 'It seemed to me that 20 months into this government it would be helpful to have a look at the government's green agenda and green policies and how they measure up to the government's own commitment to be, as David Cameron announced on 14 May, "the greenest government ever".'

Baroness Smith of Basildon spoke of her disappointment that the government abolished the Sustainable Development Commission and highlighted the disappointment from various organisations and their members, investors and the public. Despite the highlighted criticisms Baroness Smith of Basildon wished to find  ways of addressing the criticisms and supporting the Government in meeting their pledge.

Lord Dixon-Smith (Conservative) reminded the Lords that this is an 'international problem' and 'that the two biggest carbon dioxide emissions countries in the world, the United States and China, are also the two biggest countries investing in green technologies... If you supply a house with nothing but emission-free energy, then by definition, Green Deal or no Green Deal, that house is zero-emission. The same applies to every business and, if we can do it, to transport; the technologies exist. We need to take a careful look at the long term, and use that to apply our policies today.'

Lord Teverson (Liberal Democrat), Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Energy and Climate Change, highlighted the Green Deal emphasis around energy saving and how this needs further consideration as a cost-effective ways of producing a decarbonised and less energy-intensive economy.

Lord Prescott (Labour), former Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, spoke about the importance of letting the public know how they can help, how it can save them money and improve their quality of life.

Other speakers included:

  • Lord Turnbull (Crossbench), former Permanent Secretary to the Department for the Environment and Trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
  • Baroness Worthington (Labour), policy consultant for climate change and energy policy.
  • Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Liberal Democrat), Vice President for the Council for National Parks, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and Wildlife Link.
  • Lord Hunt of Chesterton (Labour), former President of the National Society of Clean Air, current President of the Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea and Vice President of Environmental Protection UK.
  • Lord Judd (Labour), current Vice-President, Campaign for National Parks.
  • Viscount Hanworth (Labour).
  • The Earl of Lytton (Crossbench).
  • The Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells.
  • Lord Grantchester (Labour).
  • Lord Marland (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government.

    Further information

    Members of the public can attend House of Lords debates and follow proceedings from the public gallery.

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