Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Climate Action and Low Carbon Development: Statements
Even in the past six months, the understanding within the EU as to our level of ambition between 2030 and 2050 has changed in recognising that if we are to meet the Paris Agreement's targets, the overall ambition agreed three to four years ago is out of date. I understand Denmark has just committed to a 70% reduction in emissions by 2030, believing that it will gain an economic advantage from that. The country's officials do not quite know how they will achieve that objective. In the recent UK election, the UK Labour Party and others said that they would decarbonise in ten years. It is in that context I ask the Minister whether he still believes that the promise in the all-of-Government action plan for a 2% per annum reduction in the next decade will be sufficient. It certainly will not be sufficient to meet the scientific advice but even within the EU context in the likelihood of an increased ambition in targets and an increased demand for greater effort-sharing, does the Minister believe that that 2% target will have to change?
Second, a recent letter from the Climate Change Advisory Council raised doubt as to how methane is going to be counted in the process and the potential argument that the agriculture sector may not have to make as significant an effort if, for a range of complex reasons, methane is treated differently as a greenhouse gas. Within the rule book of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, process, it is highly complex as to how exactly different greenhouse gases are treated. Given the advice from both the IPCC scientists who were here and our own scientists such as Peter Thorne, we cannot do what the Climate Change Advisory Council seems to be suggesting, which is to discount methane. Does the Department or the Government have a position on that yet? If not, how could they arrive at one?