David Mowat: The March European Environment Agency report confirmed that the UK’s per capita emissions are among the lowest in Europe, and in 2011 they fell at double the rate of those of the rest of the EU. Furthermore, the recent emissions trading scheme vote by the European Parliament means the UK has a carbon price six times higher than the rest of the EU, and now we are seeing several countries moving ahead to build coal stations that will not use carbon capture and storage. Is there a risk that we are increasingly acting unilaterally in this area?
Mr Davey: Let me reassure my hon. Friend. We work very closely with our European colleagues, and I formed the green growth group, currently working with about nine other member states, including our German and Dutch colleagues. We need to reform the ETS to make sure we have a functioning and effective carbon market in Europe, and we also need an ambitious 2030 target for greenhouse gas emissions. The UK Government have agreed that we will seek a 50% target in the context of winning a global climate change treaty.
Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): What is the point of us closing coal-fired power stations if Germany is opening 20 of them? What is the point of us having a carbon tax and reducing emissions if we thereby release trading permits for other countries in Europe to emit more carbon?
Mr Davey: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his question. He is not right about the German position, and I refer him to the April 2013 report by Pöyry, which we commissioned and which is on our website. It examines the reality of what is happening with new coal-fired power stations in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Some 10 new coal and lignite coal projects are under construction in Germany, because the final investment decisions on them were taken in 2005 and 2008, when there was a very different policy environment, but four have been postponed and 22 have now been abandoned, so the situation in Germany is different from the one my right hon. Friend describes.