Mr Redwood’s interventions during the Westminster Hall debate on the Climate Change Act, 10 September 2013

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I am glad that my hon. Friend is moving on, because what worries me is our attacks on people’s energy bills—the poorest suffer most—and on British industry, because we have such penal energy policies. Tony Abbott recently won an important election victory in Australia saying that for him it was a referendum on the carbon tax, because he simply rejected dear energy for Australia. He was right about that for Australia, and should we not be doing the same here?

David T. C. Davies (Monmouth) (Con): I hope that a certain other Australian who works closely with our leader (Mr Lynton Crosby) is taking note.

I have tabled a lot of questions to the Minister on the issue. In reply to one, he has said that by 2020 around 23% of household electricity bills will be as a result of climate change policy. I have also tabled questions to find out, thus far without success, how much of the NHS electricity bill goes to support wind and solar farms. Another of his answers, which I do not have to hand, suggests that every person in the country will be paying between £4,700 and £5,300 a year towards the Government’s climate change policies. We have embarked on a hugely expensive course of action, which no other country in the world shows any signs of following.

Mr Redwood: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that before industrialisation, there was a lot of global warming and then global cooling? Can he tell us what caused the global warming before man generated CO2?

Barry Gardiner (Brent North) (Lab):I will not respond to the right hon. Gentleman’s question simply because of lack of time, but I assure him that there was of course global warming and global cooling. We are looking at anthropogenic global warming, which is what we must be concerned about. He will accept that if we go over that 2° threshold, it will have damaging repercussions for all of us.

Mr Redwood: Does my right hon. Friend agree with the point that I was trying to make earlier to the hon. Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner), who seemed to be unwilling to consider it? If one wishes to establish the impact of human CO2, one needs to understand all the other factors driving climate change, which might be up or down, and be able to quantify them. Otherwise, one cannot calculate the human effect.

Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Absolutely. When people say that there is a scientific consensus that all or the majority of heating that has occurred over the recent decades is due to man-made emissions, there is in fact no such consensus. If one drills down into the questions people ask, one will see that the questions in the first study included, “Do you believe that man-made emissions contribute to warming?” Yes, I do. “Do you believe that that is largely due to CO2?” Yes, I do. However, that does not make me an alarmist, and it does not justify anyone else pretending that every scientist is an alarmist—they are not.

The Act is not just the most expensive, impractically ambitious and uncertainly based piece of legislation that I have ever known; it is unique in being legally binding and unilateral. No other country has followed us down that route. Since we went down that route, Canada and Japan have resiled from Kyoto, and Australia has just abandoned its carbon tax. It is time we looked critically at the Act, repealed or revised it, and do not allow ourselves to be slavishly, legally bound to continue doing something that no longer accords with the evidence or goes along with what the rest of the world is doing.


  1. Ned Harrison
    September 17, 2013

    This quotes David TC Davies saying that “every person in the country will be paying between £4,700 and £5,300 a year towards the Government’s climate change policies”. The source for this is The actual estimated range is £4,735 – £5,329. This is for “all capital, operating and fuel costs for the whole energy system including cars, trains, planes, power stations, boilers and insulation” including work to deliver the Climate Change Act. The figure excluding action on climate change is £4,690.

    Unless I’m missing something – and surely that’s more likely than that a parliamentary debate could be so misinformed – this means the range Mr Davies was looking for is £45-639.

    Reply This has been reported already in the Guardian.

    When we have a major debate on a topic he has requested, and something that involves a lot of taxpayer funding and some alarming predictions, is it too much to expect a reasonable clarity in the facts provided?

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    September 26, 2013

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