Oral Question: Paris Climate Agreement

- Monday, 14th December 2015

 

Thermometer

Amber Rudd: I thank the hon. Lady for her questions and welcome her support for the overall global deal. In answering her questions, I would make the following points. First, the UK's emissions are 1.2% of the world's, so our emphasis must be on making sure we get an international deal. That is why we were so committed to it. That is why we spent the past week flat-out trying to achieve it, and working to ensure we got China into the deal, which is responsible for 26% of the world's emissions—more than the EU and the US combined. We remain committed to the Climate Change Act and to making sure we go forward on a low-carbon future, but there is no value in it if we do not actually have influence in the rest of the world. That is what we achieved this week: making sure that that influence was absorbed and taken on, so we reached that agreement—very late on Saturday night.

 

To answer the hon. Lady's questions about our position in this country, I repeat that we are committed to the Climate Change Act 2008 and to our goals and our carbon budgets, but the difference between her side of the House and ours is that we will not risk security of supply and we will not put additional costs on consumers. She asks about the capacity markets but I am afraid that her interpretation is wholly wrong. The purpose of the capacity market is to take absolutely no risks with security of supply. That is what we have done, and we are proud of doing that.

 

In terms of the actions on renewables, this is about ensuring that our consumers pay the right price for the renewables to which we remain committed. As the costs of renewables come down, it is absolutely right that the subsidies come down. It is completely wrong to characterise us as having any negativity about renewables. We remain committed to them, but we will continue to make provision for them at the best value for money.

 

As far as CCS is concerned, it was a tight spending round in the review with the Treasury. The cost was £1 billion, and we made a decision not to proceed with the fund. I believe that CCS is going to play an important part in decarbonising in the future, particularly industrial CCS, and we will work internationally to make progress on that. Overall, this Government are absolutely committed to a low-carbon future that is value for money and constantly provides security to consumers and families.

 

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Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): As far as I am aware, there are only two peer-reviewed studies that have computed the total reductions in emissions promised by the member states at Paris, fed them through the standard climate model and calculated the impact on future temperatures. Both have concluded that the temperature in 2100 will, as a result of this treaty, be a mere 0.2 °C below what it would otherwise be. Has my right hon. Friend any alternative figures, and would not the trillions of pounds being spent on such a puny achievement be better spent on alleviating poverty and eradicating disease?

 

Amber Rudd: I thank my right hon. Friend for his question, but at its core is a suggestion that what we are doing will not alleviate poverty. On that he could not be more wrong. Particularly through climate finance and the investment that will come from the private sector, which Governments will be able to leverage, we will help to alleviate poverty and provide energy in areas of Africa and India that have never had it before. That is an essential part of what we will achieve.

 

 

 

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