Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley: My Lords, I draw your attention to my interest as a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The Government have embarked on a policy that will result in one of the most expensive programmes since the introduction of the welfare state, without first carrying out a cost-benefit analysis. Is that not extraordinary given that when the previous target was raised from 60% to 80%, in the Government’s estimates the cost more than doubled? Going from 80% to 100% will certainly more than double it again. The Chancellor believes that it will cost a trillion pounds, which could otherwise be spent on welfare programmes, health and education; the UN climate committee believes it will cost at least twice what the Treasury estimates; and the New Zealand Government have estimated that it will cost five times as much relative to their economy, as has been suggested. Given that, is it not irrational to enter this, as any, policy programme without first estimating the costs and calculating the benefits? Why are we doing it?

    Lord Henley: My Lords, the Committee on Climate Change, as I made clear, has given us its vision of the likely cost of delivering a net zero target; that is within the same range as the original 80% target set out in 2008. It is equivalent to 1% to 2% of GDP by 2050, and our own assessment of costs is broadly within that range. One has to add that the impact of this could be partly offset by the many benefits, such as economic growth, green-collar jobs, reduced air pollution and reducing the risks and potential costs of catastrophic climate change. We will continue with that and, as was made clear in the Statement, the Treasury will also make its own further assessments of the costs. It is quite right that we should take those into account. As I said in response to the noble Lord, Lord Cunningham, it is very important that as we pursue this policy, which we believe is entirely necessary and agreed on most sides of the House, we take everybody else with us.