HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc58-9W
Bob Spink

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received from(a) business and (b) industry representatives on the Government's Climate Change Programme, with particular reference to the viability of the emissions targets for (i) 2010 and (ii) 2020. [154227]

Mr. Morley

I have been asked to reply.

The UK Climate Change Programme sets out the policy framework to ensure that the UK meets its Kyoto target, to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 12.5 per cent. below base year levels, and moves towards its domestic goal to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010.

The Climate Change Programme, published in November 2000, was developed in close consultation with business, local authorities and a wide range of public and private sector organisations. Responses from all groups identified significant business opportunities for the UK from moving to a more energy efficient, lower carbon economy and less than 5 per cent. of businesses who responded believed that the programme would damage UK's competitiveness.

Many respondents to the consultation on the draft Climate Change Programme noted the need to develop a longer term policy framework that would reduce emissions beyond 2010. The February 2003 Energy White Paper did just this, with its goal to put the UK on a path to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent. by 2050, with real progress by 2020.

In developing the Energy White Paper, the Government held a large number of meetings and expert workshops along with a written consultation. There was concern, mostly from companies and trade associations, that competitive advantage should not be compromised by measures to address climate change. However there was also recognition of the advantages that would arise from moving towards a low carbon economy, such as through export opportunities in new renewable technology and engineering expertise, and through opportunities arising from job creation. A summary of the responses, and individual replies from businesses, to the written consultation can be found on the DTI website.