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Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry

Environmental Audit Committee

Select Committee Announcement

For Immediate Release

8 January 2008

NEW INQUIRY

Post-Kyoto: The International Context for Progress on Climate Change

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is today launching an Inquiry into the international context of negotiations for the next commitment phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

This Inquiry follows the December 2007 UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, which formally agreed a roadmap for negotiations on the next Kyoto commitment period starting in 2012. Although the agreed roadmap contains some welcome features including a recognition that all developed countries have to make deep cuts and that more has to be done to help developing countries to adapt to climate change, there are concerns that the agreement lacked clear goals or timetables. It is likely that negotiations leading to the eventual agreement of a framework that will help us to avoid dangerous climate change are going to be challenging.

The Committee will explore key issues raised by the Bali roadmap including adaptation funds, reducing deforestation and the transfer of technologies. We will consider what “common but differentiated responsibilities” will actually mean in relation to the commitments required. As part of the Inquiry the Committee will in particular focus on the EU, China and Australia to explore how these key parties are likely to respond both to the roadmap negotiations and to climate change mitigation and adaptation more widely.

The Committee invites organisations and members of the public to submit memoranda setting out their views on these issues. Some specific subjects on which the Committee would welcome comments are set out below, although respondents are free to comment on any issues which they consider relevant:

1. Is the Kyoto Protocol still a relevant and effective mechanism? How successful was the Bali conference? Does the roadmap contain all that is needed to lead to a post-Kyoto agreement that adequately addresses the climate change challenge? Will the roadmap focus on implementation issues or will it come to an agreement on a stabilisation level? How do we ensure that no key parties are left out of the process?

2. What needs to be done between now and Potznan? Emissions from international aviation and shipping were not included in the Bali roadmap. Why did this happen and what can be done to address these emissions?

Emission reduction frameworks

3. How can ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ be decided in such a way that ensures the engagement of all parties? How can equity concerns regarding the allocation of mitigation targets and historical responsibility for climate change emissions be reconciled?

4. How might an agreement be reached with emerging economies to ensure that their emissions trajectories move into line with the need to reduce global emissions? How might developing countries’ need to expand their economies be reconciled with controls on emissions?

Adaptation and technology

5. Is there adequate support for developing countries to adapt to climate change? Should there be binding targets for funding and how could these be decided? How will funding for climate change mitigation or adaptation interact with existing aid budgets? Will such funding contribute to wider sustainable development goals?

6. Is there effective international coordination on technology R&D? How might technology transfer to developed countries be improved? How does technology transfer interact with international trade rules? How effectively do Government technology programmes, such as the Energy Technologies Institute, lead to technology development and transfer to developing countries? How effective are UK Government measures to assist developing countries to reduce emissions?

7. Is the Asia-Pacific partnership a complement or a rival to the Kyoto Protocol? How is it likely to develop and what is it likely to achieve?

Mechanisms

8. How might mechanisms to tackle emissions from deforestation be developed? How can we ensure that such mechanisms contribute to wider sustainable development aims? Will such mechanisms deal with the need to ensure the protection of indigenous people, land use rights and governance? How might forest degradation be dealt with? Are additional mechanisms required to enable the creation of carbon sinks?

9. Are the Clean Development and Joint Implementation Mechanisms functioning effectively? How might they be improved? How might they better be used in relation to forestry or other land use emission reduction projects? Should CDM and JI projects play a greater role in sustainable development more widely? To what extent should credits such as those from the CDM and JI be permitted to be used in emissions trading schemes, or contribute to emissions reduction targets?

10. What action is the Government taking to prepare for and accelerate the linking of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme with other trading schemes? Is a new institutional or regulatory framework required to enable their development and coordination? How might schemes be linked where they have different emission caps? Might the EUETS be undermined by linking with other schemes?

Written evidence should be sent to the Committee by Friday 25 January 2008. Evidence sessions are likely to start on 19 February 2008.

For printing purposes we require written submissions via e-mail to eacom@parliament.uk in Word format. We are unable to accept PDFs except for supporting documentation already in the public domain which will not be printed by us. Although we no longer require a hard copy, it is your responsibility to check that we have received your submission if no email acknowledgement has been received by you. A brief guidance note on the preparation and submission of evidence is available on the Committee’s web pages. For more information on this inquiry, please call 020-7219-1378.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

1. Membership:

Chairman: Mr Tim Yeo, MP

Mr Gregory Barker MP Mr Nick Hurd MP Mrs Linda Riordan MP
Mr Martin Caton MP Mr Mark Lazarowicz MP Mr Graham Stuart MP
Mr Colin Challen MP Ian Liddell-Grainger MP Jo Swinson MP
Mr David Chaytor MP Shahid Malik MP Dr Desmond Turner MP
Martin Horwood MP Mr Ian Pearson MP* Joan Walley MP

* The Minister for the Environment has ex-officio membership of the Committee in like manner to the Financial Secretary’s membership of the Committee of Public Accounts.

2. More information on the Committee’s reports can be found on the Committee website at: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/environmental_audit_committee.cfm

Media Enquiries: Laura Kibby, 020 7219 0718 or via email: kibbyl@parliament.uk

Specific Committee Information: Details of all the Committee’s press releases and inquiries, together with its Reports, oral evidence and other publications, are available on the Committee’s Internet home page, which can be found at:

Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/environmental_audit_committee.cfm

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk


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Three Early Day Motions by Austin Mitchell MP

Our long standing sponsor Austin Mitchell MP has started this year’s parliamentary session by tabling the following Early Day Motions which address the cause and some of the effects of our monetary system:

our own EDM 265 Green Credit for Green Growth with currently 11 signatures.

EDM 263 on Student Loans with currently 42 signatures.

and EDM 219 on Tax Avoidance with currently 25 signatures.

The last one has been initiated by Richard Murphy of the Tax Justice Network.

WriteToThem is the easiest way to get your MP to sign any or all of them.

Financing Adaptation to Climate Change

Thanks to Jamie Brown from the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy, I received the Call for Concepts below.

Call for Concepts by UNDP – the United Nations Development Program

An Obvious Link between Money and Climate Change

Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study
By Ian Sample
The Guardian UK

Friday 02 February 2007

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.

The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI’s board of trustees.

The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN’s panel as “resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work” and ask for essays that “thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs”.

Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the “overwhelming scientific evidence” on global warming. “It’s a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims,” said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

“The IPCC process is probably the most thorough and open review undertaken in any discipline. This undermines the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice,” he said.

The letters were sent by Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AEI, who confirmed that the organisation had approached scientists, economists and policy analysts to write articles for an independent review that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the IPCC report.

“Right now, the whole debate is polarised,” he said. “One group says that anyone with any doubts whatsoever are deniers and the other group is saying that anyone who wants to take action is alarmist. We don’t think that approach has a lot of utility for intelligent policy.”

One American scientist turned down the offer, citing fears that the report could easily be misused for political gain. “You wouldn’t know if some of the other authors might say nothing’s going to happen, that we should ignore it, or that it’s not our fault,” said Steve Schroeder, a professor at Texas A&M university.

The contents of the IPCC report have been an open secret since the Bush administration posted its draft copy on the internet in April. It says there is a 90% chance that human activity is warming the planet, and that global average temperatures will rise by another 1.5 to 5.8C this century, depending on emissions.

Lord Rees of Ludlow, the president of the Royal Society, Britain’s most prestigious scientific institute, said: “The IPCC is the world’s leading authority on climate change and its latest report will provide a comprehensive picture of the latest scientific understanding on the issue. It is expected to stress, more convincingly than ever before, that our planet is already warming due to human actions, and that ‘business as usual’ would lead to unacceptable risks, underscoring the urgent need for concerted international action to reduce the worst impacts of climate change. However, yet again, there will be a vocal minority with their own agendas who will try to suggest otherwise.”

Ben Stewart of Greenpeace said: “The AEI is more than just a thinktank, it functions as the Bush administration’s intellectual Cosa Nostra. They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they’ve got left is a suitcase full of cash.”

On Monday, another Exxon-funded organisation based in Canada will launch a review in London which casts doubt on the IPCC report. Among its authors are Tad Murty, a former scientist who believes human activity makes no contribution to global warming. Confirmed VIPs attending include Nigel Lawson and David Bellamy, who believes there is no link between burning fossil fuels and global warming.