Contributions by Peter Lilley during final stages of Climate Change Bill 28 Oct 2008
Interventions and Points of Order
28 Oct 2008 : Column 742
Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Can the hon. Lady assure us that despite her distinguished lifetime career advocating unilateralism, nothing in these measures will unilaterally hamstring our aviation or maritime industries if other countries do not follow suit?
Joan Ruddock: I have just explained the complexity of including shipping emissions, whether unilaterally or within the EU emissions trading scheme. There are real difficulties. I gave the example of the calculations based on bunker fuels purchased in the UK and the fact that they gave a totally incorrect reading of what has been happening to UK shipping. The right hon. Gentleman should understand the complexity of the matter. It has to be sorted out and we have to find a way forward. That means that it is not sensible to adopt a measure today on our own behalf.
As I have said, we need a flexible approach to the evolving international context. I hope people understand that we are anxious to make progress on international aviation and shipping emissions, but we need to do that first in a European context and then in the global context. We will do what we can to take account of the necessary factors.
28 Oct 2008 : Column 750
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman (Dr. Strang), but I must remind him that this group of amendments is to do with shipping and aviation. An opportunity for more general comments about the targets for the reduction of emissions will crop up at a later point on the Order Paper.
Dr. Strang: I am grateful to you for that advice, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Lilley: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Can you assure us that we will have an opportunity to debate the Third Reading of the Bill, and to raise the more general points that the right hon. Gentleman has tried to raise, and which many of us would like to discuss, in the course of assessing some of the new clauses, particularly in relation to their cost effectiveness?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I think that the right hon. Gentleman knows that I cannot give any such assurance. The progress that is made on dealing with the amendments that have been selected by Mr. Speaker depends entirely on the House, so I am afraid that I cannot give any such assurance.
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Mr. Gummer: … Although I cannot be accused by anyone of being unilateralist in the sense that the Minister was but-I believe-is not now, I can at least say that unilateralism, in the sense of being a step ahead of others and helping them to make their decisions, is often necessary. T.S. Eliot once said “Being a step ahead of the rest is something that deserves congratulation and you are a hero; two steps ahead, and watch out for the men in white coats.” There is some truth in that. I do not want us to get into a position in which we have so damaged our international ability to trade and compete that we suffer unilaterally, but we do need to ensure that we are taking a step ahead of the rest.
Mr. Lilley: Do I understand from my right hon. Friend’s logic that, while there is a case for being ahead, if others do not follow us we should cease to give leadership, and that therefore a Bill that binds us unilaterally, by law, to targets 42 years ahead goes too far?
Mr. Gummer: No, I do not agree with that. If I may say so, I think that my right hon. Friend is entirely wrong. The world is faced with the biggest threat that we have ever known about in advance, and for us not to take these measures would constitute a deep dereliction of our duty to this generation, the next generation and the generation after that.
I must tell my right hon. Friend that I deeply disagree with the approach that if no one else helps as we go over the precipice, we had better run with them. That is a totally unacceptable position. We must stand up.