HC Deb 17 June 2002 vol 387 cc27-8W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the forthcoming White Paper on energy policy will include a cost benefit analysis. [60054]

Mr. Wilson

[holding answer 13 June 2002): Energy policy is necessarily concerned with developments over long time periods. The analysis in the White Paper will include an assessment of costs and benefits across a range of impacts, recognising the risks and the inherent uncertainties of such estimation.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many chartered engineers are part of the Energy Strategy Unit tasked with producing the White Paper on the future energy policy; [60047]

(2) what the engineering and scientific qualifications are of the head of the Energy Strategy Unit; [60051]

(3) what the (a) composition and (b) structure is of the Energy Strategy Unit; [60052]

(4) what liaison is carried out by the Energy Strategy Unit with the EU on policy development. [60053]

Mr. Wilson

[holding answer 13 June 2002]: The Energy Strategy Unit is the team tasked with undertaking the consultation on energy policy, following publication earlier this year of the Energy Review and with drafting the energy White Paper which the Government propose to publish around the turn of the year.

It is composed of a team drawn from DTI, DEFRA, and elsewhere and its work is overseen by a senior cross-departmental group including members from DTI, DEFRA, DoT, HMT and others. Rob Wright, currently Director of Coal Policy in the DTI, has been appointed head of the Energy Strategy Unit. Within the DTI reporting structure, Rob Wright reports to Joan MacNaughton, Director General, Energy.

The Unit currently has five staff at senior management level, all of whom have first or second degrees in science, engineering, economics or mathematics. In addition, the team draws on a much wider range of experts in similar fields from within and outside Government including the Energy Advisory Panel.

The Unit is working closely with officials in the FCO, the DTI, DEFRA and other Departments who liaise directly with the European Commission and other member states.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what definition she uses of a low carbon economy; and what the Government's policy is on a low carbon economy. [60050]

Mr. Wilson

[holding answer 13 June 2002]: The UK's Climate Change Programme, issued in November 2000, sets out the Government's approach to the challenge. It is estimated that the proposals in the programme could reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions to about 23 per cent. below 1990 levels in 2010. This is well beyond the Kyoto target. Longer term, the Government believe that global emissions of greenhouse gases may need to be reduced by 60 per cent. to 70 per cent. if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. This will require a major transformation in the way we generate and use energy—essentially a move away from the substantial use of fossil fuels emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to a low carbon economy.

The possible nature of such an economy and the means for achieving it was one of the issues considered in the Performance and Innovation Unit's Energy Review report to Government. The Government are currently consulting on the Energy Review and the responses to the consultation will help to shape an energy White Paper, by around the turn of the year.