HC Deb 19 February 1990 vol 167 cc532-3W
Mr. Macdonald

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what action his Department is taking, through its various agencies, to combat global warming; and what is the total to be spent on this in the current year.

Mr. Wakeham

Much of the current research into global warming centres on ascertaining its detailed scientific basis which does not fall within the responsibility of my Department. But we have various programmes concerned with particular aspects of energy production and supply which are highly relevant to future reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide, which is the main greenhouse gas emitted by the non-transport energy sector. They are: renewable forms of energy (1989–90 forecast expenditure £18 million) nuclear R&D (£137 million) energy efficiency R&D (£8.9 million) clean coal combustion (£2.5 million).

The privatisation of the electricity supply industry will promote further efficiency (and hence lower emissions) in the supply of power; and the non-fossil fuel obligation will ensure that both nuclear and renewable technologies make appropriate contribution to reductions in emissions.

Officials from my Department have made, and are continuing to make, a strong input to the deliberations of the response strategies working group of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. The United Kingdom report for the energy and industry subgroup of the working group was recently published as Energy Paper 58—"An Evaluation of Energy Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Measures to Ameliorate Them". A copy of that paper is in the Library of the House.