Members present:
                    Mr David Curry, in the Chair
                    Mr David Borrow
                    Mr Colin Breed
                    Mr David Drew
                    Patrick Hall
                    Mr Michael Jack
                    Mr David Lepper
                    Mr Austin Mitchell
                    Diana Organ
                    Phil Sawford
                    David Taylor
                    Mr Mark Todd
       RT HON MICHAEL MEACHER, a Member of the House, (Minister for Environment), SARAH
     HENDRY, Head of Global Atmosphere Division, Department for Environment, Food and
     Rural Affairs, examined.

  1.  Minister, welcome to the Committee.  Thank you for agreeing to appear before us.  This room
has got catastrophic acoustics; it was clearly designed with the intention that Betty Bothroyd  would be
the only person who could speak publicly in it.  Just for the record, Michael Meacher is the Minister
for the Environment and Sarah Hendry rejoices in what must be a very grand title, Head of Global
Atmosphere Division.  At some stage, perhaps not now, you can tell us what that means.  Minister, the
idea is that this is retrospective, in a sense; a catch-up on Kyoto, because obviously with the election
and the recess we need to come up to date.  I want to start with the Bonn agreement, because after
the agreement you described it, I think, as "a brilliant day for the environment" and, perhaps not wholly
surprisingly, the Friends of the Earth described the Kyoto Protocol has having been heavily diluted and
the effect on the climate massively eroded.  Having thought about it and, no doubt, discussed it with
them, who is right?
  (Mr Meacher) You will not be surprised, Mr Chairman, to know that although there is a hype in
the early morning after an all-night session, I still stand by my words.  This is not a perfect deal, and I
did not say that; I said "It's a brilliant day for the environment".  The reason I said that is just imagine
what the headlines would have been if we had not had an agreement.  They would have been something
like "Climate Change Talks Collapse", "World Drifting on Climate Change", "International Leaders
Cannot Agree on Most Overarching Issue Facing This Planet" - whatever.  We did get an agreement. 
It is watered down a bit, that is perfectly true, but the essence is still there.  The bottom line in all of this
is the level of reduced emissions.  It will achieve - and I do not think this is a disputed figure - about 140
million tonnes of carbon a year reduction in the emissions of Annex 1 countries, that is the developed
countries (about 32 of them), below 1990 levels.  That is a cut of about 2.8 per cent.  If the US had
remained in on the same agreement it would have been about a 250 million tonnes of carbon a year cut,
which is about 5 per cent, but the US is not in so it is 2.8 per cent.  You might say that is modest but
it is not by comparison with zero.  It is by comparison with "business as usual" in the developed
countries.  If the Kyoto Protocol had never been signed and nothing were done, probably the increase
would be 15, 20 per cent, possibly more.  If the United States was there, probably 25 per cent.  So
a minus figure at all is a substantial change around to the normal pattern of the developed economies. 
That is very significant.  It is true that the non-participants in Kyoto targets, that is the developing
countries, are expected to increase emissions by something like two billion tonnes a year between 1990
and 2010, and 140 million tonnes is only 7 per cent of that.  I am being fair and putting the other side. 
Nevertheless, I repeat, it is very important as a start.  It will get us a good way towards the 5 per cent. 
If the United States comes back in, which is possible, we should get to the 5 per cent as we said at
Kyoto, but of course we need to go a lot further towards the 60 per cent that the scientists say is
necessary to achieve stabilisation of CO2 in the atmosphere.  
  2.  At the Bonn agreement there was a lot of discussion about "sinks" and a number of countries,
including Japan, Australia and Canada, were particularly anxious to have recognised the contributions
of sinks, and concessions were made.  As a result of those concessions, how many countries signing
up to the agreement at Bonn actually do seem to be engaged in the process of reducing emission, and
how many appear to have been given alibis?
  (Mr Meacher) First of all, sinks.  The level is certainly higher than the EU would have liked.  The
EU countries, I think to their credit, have been first of all trying to exclude sinks from the CDM.  We
did not succeed in that and we have been trying to put a cap on the use of domestic sinks.  We did
succeed in that, and to that extent, I suppose, it is a mixed result.  The maximum contribution from sinks
to the effort required for the Annex 1 countries to meet their Kyoto commitment is only about 15 per
cent.  So, still 85 per cent of the effort required to meet the targets comes from other areas.  That is not
a bad result.  You also asked how far other countries are beginning to take action.  The truth is we do
not know in enough detail.  Once the Protocol is ratified, of course, the national registers of each of the
signatory countries are then required to make annual submissions about the progress that we have made
and that, of course, at each conference of the parties annually, will become a major topic of discussion:
who is up to the target, who is well short of it, why, and what can be done to get them on track.

                             Mr Drew
  3.  If we can go on to, obviously, the key issue of American involvement, can you give us an
appraisal, as objectively as possible, as to where you think the Americans now are in the process,
having dropped out of it?  Clearly September 11 has changed attitudes somewhat.  Is there now a
realisation that they need to be part of the process if not the Protocol in time?
  (Mr Meacher) Of course I can only give my opinion on this, and my knowledge of this is not
necessarily any greater than anyone else's.  I do think the United States was taken aback at the
response to President Bush's rejection of the Protocol.  I do not think they expected such a strong and
persistent backlash.  I think the United States was again very surprised and, indeed, put on the back
foot by the fact that 177 countries in the world - every other country in the world - signed up at Bonn. 
I do not think they expected that.  Of course, it does cause discussion in the United States, in the media
and amongst leaders of the United States about the isolation that that puts the United States in. 
Whether 11 September, which shows that even the most powerful country in the world requires a
coalition in order to deal with the overriding issue that we all totally recognise, means that they will also
take a view that climate change, although a totally different order of episode, nevertheless also requires
a global coalition - I would hope that that connection might be made, but it remains to be seen whether
they accept that.  I would say that the reasons President Bush gave for rejecting the Protocol - namely,
that it would damage US growth and other developing countries were not taking action - are both
grounds that we would strongly contest.  First of all, we estimate (and, again, I do not think this is much
disputed) that it might reduce US economic growth between 1990 and 2010 by something like 0.6 per
cent, when there is an estimated projected economic growth over that period of 30 per cent.  Secondly,
yes, it does not require developing countries to take action, but, first of all, it is the Annex 1 countries
that have caused the problem, particularly the United States which, with 5 per cent of the population,
generates 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.  Also, other countries are reducing emissions
anyway, they are required to do this, and when their national registries provide data on their progress
it will be seen that many of the developing countries have made significant reductions in emissions -
some might say, perhaps cheekily, rather more than America has so far.  Thirdly, the facts are, as we
all know, developing countries will not accept targets until the Annex 1 gives a lead.  So I do believe
that those grounds for rejecting the Kyoto Protocol by the United States are not well-grounded and
I very much hope that they will have further thoughts about this.
  4.  Can I just look ahead, then, to Marrakesh.  Do you think the Americans will play a part there? 
Will they table amendments either to the process or to the Protocol?  If they will not or do not, does
that mean that Marrakesh is basically just treading water?
  (Mr Meacher) No.  First of all, the United States, I am sure, will attend.  They have already
committed themselves to providing their alternative to the Kyoto Protocol.  They have said that they
think it is flawed, we have said "Please tell us what you think should be done".  They have given a
commitment that they will bring forward alternatives.  In the light of September 11 I think we do not
expect them to do so by Marrakesh in early November, but we will certainly be raising the matter with
them and asking within what timetable they will be bringing forward proposals.  I think the purpose of
Marrakesh (COP-7) is basically to conclude the loose ends which were left by Bonn.  The issue of
developing-country funding is very largely settled, the details of the operation of flexible mechanisms
(and I will not go into the details now unless I am pressed) were largely settled at Bonn.  On the
question of sinks, again, there is largely agreement on this, although Russia may well be trying to re-
open the question of their sinks allowances - they have formally requested to do that.  Then the real
issue at Marrakesh is the question of compliance.  There are a number of detailed technical points on
compliance.  We believe that those should be manageable.  The risk of Marrakesh is that the countries
which were uncomfortable with Bonn - I leave aside the United States who decided not to be party to
this - such as Japan, Australia, Canada and, to some extent, Russia, could seek to re-open some of the
issues at Bonn.  We would try to prevent that but there are still some loose ends, and those have to be
tied up.

                           Phil Sawford
  5.  In a week where we have seen floods again, very early on in the winter, the importance of
Kyoto, I think, is pretty stark.  What efforts are you making to get the US back on board with this at
a time when the spotlight is on American foreign policy?  What example does it show to other countries
if they maintain their current stance?
  (Mr Meacher) We are very keen to get the United States back involved in the process.  I partly
speak for the UK but I am sure there are many other countries in the EU and elsewhere who are,
behind the scenes, encouraging the United States to re-think their position.  The truth is President Bush
did take a pretty strong position earlier in the year and, let us face it, it is difficult for the United States
to make a volte face within any short time period.  The encouragement or pressure to do so is
constantly there.  Now, what are the drivers for that?  Apart from diplomatic discussions, there is the
fact that the United States has said they will bring forward their alternative to Kyoto, and when they do,
of course, we will then have on the table something on which we can argue with them as to its
adequacy.  That is very important.  The other fact which I think is very important  - probably the
decisive one - is that the large corporations in the United States do not want to be excluded from the
very substantial new world markets that are opening up.  When they see their competitor companies
in other major EU or Japanese countries taking advantage of these markets, I think the clamour to be
involved will become quite strong.  That takes time to develop, but I think it is a very powerful issue
  after all, the Americans were more interested in Kyoto in 1997 with emissions trading than probably
any other item.  They have now, by the action they have taken, excluded themselves from it.  The costs
of doing that will become increasingly understood, and I believe it will act as a very powerful driver for
  6.  On ratification, you mentioned Japan, Canada, Russia, and there is a sense that other countries
are backing away a bit or they would want to amend that Protocol.  Are we likely to reach the target
which is to ratify it by September 2002?
  (Mr Meacher) I hope so and I believe so.  As the Committee will know, the requirement for
ratification of the Protocol is that there has to be 55 countries signing up and they have to account for
at least 55 per cent of global CO2 in 1990.  If the United States is not going to be part of it, and I think
realistically we do not think they will be part of it by the end of next year, then Japan and Russia have
got to be committed and have got to be ready to sign.  Both of those have strong incentives to do so. 
The Japanese, of course, regard themselves, understandably, if not the authors,  the protagonists of the
Protocol which was signed in Kyoto.  On the other hand, they are extremely anxious to keep close to
the United States and what they really want is yes, to sign up but only if the United States is prepared
to do as well.  It may be the events of September 11 have begun to cause some change there, and the
signs are that the Japanese are willing and determined to sign up next year.  In the case of the Russians,
the Russians are certainly looking to get the most economic benefit out of Kyoto.  That is why they have
asked for their sinks allowance to be re-opened.  Russia already has an extremely lax target which
generates what is called in the trade "hot air", in other words a surplus of assigned amounts/units as a
result of those lax targets which can be sold profitably to countries such as America who want extra
credits to meet their target.  Of course, now the United States has dropped out for the moment, the
main buyer of those credits has gone.  Russia, of course, may well decide to try and control the carbon
market by restricting the access to hot air in order to keep the price of carbon high.  However, the key
point in this is that Russia cannot get a penny out of it unless they are party to the Protocol, unless they
ratify.  So the pressure on Russia, after all the huffing and puffing, to ratify is very strong.  I do think the
chances of ratification still remain high.

                             Mr Jack
  7.  Chairman, we have heard a lot of very big numbers quoted and I wonder, particularly, if Sarah
Hendry might help me, as a relative newcomer to this area, to put some of these big numbers and
carbon reductions, temperature reductions into some kind of perspective, so that I might understand
the risks involved of the United States not fully engaging in this process.  I understand that the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that world temperature rises could go up
between 1.4 to 5.6 degrees centigrade by 2100.  Then it went on to put forward a number of mitigating
circumstances on a precautionary basis as to why that situation should be addressed.  Could you just
indicate to me, if you like, with and without the United States, how much carbon reduction will actually
take place and what its effect will be in terms of reducing the  temperature rises projected by the
  (Mr Meacher) Do you want me to have a bash at that, or do you want to go straight to Sarah? 
To be fair to Sarah, I have been involved in this a lot more than she has but she is involved totally in this
and I have a few other things to do as well.
  8.  So you are the sort of galactic head of atmosphere?
  (Mr Meacher) Shall I have a try first and Sarah can come in if she wishes.  The increase, as you
say, of up to 5.6 per cent is truly stunning.  An increase in global temperature of 5 degrees sounds very
nice; we all get a bit warmer and we have the Rivera around Manchester for the first time in world
history - which all sounds very good.  The real problem is, and the way I put it in context is, that there
has been a regular cycle of ice age and then interglacial periods; we are living within a very equable
interglacial temperate period since the end of the last ice age about 10,000  to 11,000 years ago.  That
is probably going to change in the next 5,000 years when we go back to an ice age.  In the last ice age
an ice sheet came down between two to three miles thick on the North American continent to about
New York, down the northern parts of Europe to somewhere around London and across the northern
Siberian plain.  The reason I mention that is because there was a change of temperature - a decline in
global temperatures - of about 5 degrees.  So an increase in temperature of 5 degrees is absolutely
staggering.  It would certainly mean that the tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world were so burning
hot they would be uninhabitable.  The effects on population movement and wildlife and world crops are
virtually incalculable.  This is incredibly serious.  Admittedly, that is the top end of what they now
calculate is possible.  But on a precautionary basis, we would be mad not to take very firm action to
deal with this.  The United States is a big part of this.  I have already said they are responsible for a
quarter of the cause of the problem.  It is extremely important to get them involved again.  The problem
is their commitment to the US economy and, probably in the minds of many of their leaders, a genuine
doubt about the science.  I do not think they have probably given it a huge amount of attention -
perhaps they have now compared to when they first came in - but, of course, not all the scientists totally
agree about this scenario.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is 2,000 to 3,000 of the
world's scientists from across the world; they are the most prestigious scientists you will find virtually
anywhere, but there is a handful - and a few of them in the United States - who still believe that the
phenomena which have appeared so far are within the range of cyclical variability of the general climate. 
Indeed, you can make out that case, except that if you do look at global temperatures over the last
century/century and a half they have been very level and it is only in the last 50 years and projected
forward for the next 50 years that we suddenly see a very sharp rise.  What needs to be done?  I think
the imperative for action is unchanged.  I do not believe that further intergovernmental reports from the
panel are going to change that picture other than refining it further.  I do not think the broad magnitudes
are likely to alter a lot.  It is a question of the political leaders being prepared to take on board the
significance of that, whilst recognising, which we all do, that this is not saying "We are stopping
economic growth", we are saying that they are ways of achieving that growth which are almost wholly
compatible with, at the same time, limiting these climatic effects.  The last point I would make (sorry,
this is rather a long answer) is that the 5 per cent at Kyoto is only the start.  What the scientists are
saying is if you are going to stabilise and begin to reverse climate change phenomena you have to have
a reduction in CO2 in the atmosphere of about 60 per cent.  Again, that is a stunning statement to make. 
Indeed, my department is beginning to look at what are the ways by which that kind of reduction can
be achieved, compatible with our economy and the kind of civilisation we have.
  9.  Is it just a straight "We have 5 and 55 to go"?  Have I understood it correctly?
  (Mr Meacher) You have.  That is correct.  There is no question of just having a linear development. 
This is a hugely not just scientific and technological but political issue.  My anticipation is that if we tie
down COP-6 at Marrakesh and we do tie up these loose ends, at COP-8 and COP-9 we will re-open
what is called under the Protocol the "adequacy of commitments", which is the target levels, and I
would anticipate that we should be talking in the second or third commitment period (after 2008-2012
which is the first commitment period) of a reduction of, perhaps, 20, 25 even 30 per cent and beginning
to get mind sets looking at that sort of order of reduction.  I think to talk about 60 per cent at this
moment is just not Real Politick, but we have to ratchet up the targets in a sensible way as soon as we

                           Mr Mitchell
  10.  Given these general studies about the effects of the 5 per cent climate change/temperature
change at a specific point, the real question is what is the effect on Grimsby, as far as I am concerned.
  (Mr Meacher) There will be fewer fish.
  11.  We prepare food, I would not want it to be cooked before it leaves the factory.  Just a serious
point, and a small one: is not the universal condemnation by Russia of America a mixture of
Schadenfreude and hypocrisy, in the sense that other leaders in other countries want to excuse their
own inadequate performance and commitment by heaping blame on America and it becomes a
convenient way of doing that, when the real problem in the States is not the science, or whatever, it is
the political structures of a system where you cannot take a decision at the centre and have it enforced
uniformly, where power is fragmented and far more power rests with public opinion and the electorate
than it does in our more centralised and more authoritarian systems?
  (Mr Meacher) I am not sure whether our system is authoritarian.  It is quite centralised.
  Mr Mitchell: Whatever Lola wants Lola gets (?).

  12.  Can we concentrate on the climate, fascinating though this is?
  (Mr Meacher) The politics of the United States is obviously central to it, and indeed the view taken
by the President and his advisers and the view on Capitol Hill, even if it is a different political system
to ours, is still dominant.  I think the electorate in the United States, like the electorate in any other
European country, does very much determine the leadership of the country, the scientists, and perhaps
the NGOs the same.  So there is no question that the issue really hinges around the collation of scientific
data and the interpretation of it, which is tapered by the political leadership in the White House and on
Capitol Hill.  That is where we need to persuade.  Do not forget that we had the Burgh Hagle (?)
amendment in the Senate in 1995 which was advisory, it was not mandatory, but they voted 95 to nil
against anything like the Kyoto Protocol.  The Kyoto Protocol did not come in until 1997, but they
were already opposed because of the way they thought that the world was conspiring to somehow
undermine the American economy.  That is absolutely not the case but it shows the need for beginning
to change opinion.  I do think opinion in the Senate as well as in Congress has begun, quite significantly,
to shift already.  One indication of this is that the motor car industry, which is very powerful in the
United States, took the view immediately before Kyoto that this was the end of civilisation as they knew
it.  Once Kyoto had been accepted they began to realise that they were just as good as anyone else
at building a hydrogen or fuel cell car, and that there were enormous markets open to them.  Of course,
they were very anxious to exploit those and they are still anxious to exploit them.  They will realise that
their capacity to do that is now being cut from under their feet, and I would imagine that they will be
making this point known to the political leadership rather strongly.

                            Mr Borrow
  13.  Austin just mentions the issue of how the discredit (?) of the United States has led to political
difficulties in getting agreement.  I just want to touch on the discredit of political views within the
European Union and problems that have existed there and the arguments that have taken place over
recent years on the Kyoto Protocol, to what extent you think it is possible to improve the decision
mechanism within the European Union so that the European Union continues to become more effective
as the key negotiating block within the Kyoto Protocol, and to what extent you ensure that the
European Union comes to a common position without having disagreements breaking out within
multilateral negotiations, which is what has happened in the past.
  (Mr Meacher) Well, Mr Chairman, that is quite a poignant question, as far as I am concerned,
because I was in the Chair in the Presidency in the latter half of 1998 when the European Union came
to a settled view about their policy and agreed on targets and the allocation of those targets, which do
vary enormously between a cut of 28 per cent in the case of little Luxembourg and an increase in the
case of Portugal, I think, of 27 per cent.  The average across the whole of the EU - weighted by the
significance of different economies, of course - is a reduction of 8 per cent.  The UK's responsibility
is a reduction of 12.5 per cent.  That is under the so-called "bubble" arrangements, to use a word which
has developed, which means obligations under Article IV.  It remains for the EU to ensure that its
internal arrangements will deliver what we have committed ourselves to at Kyoto.  I am sure we can. 
At every meeting of the EU Environment Council - and the next one is next Monday - we always have
discussions on climate change and on the progress that we are making.  We have the Commission
which acts as a secretariat to keep track of different countries' performance, and I do believe that the
EU - I will not say a water-tight - has a pretty well-organised system for ensuring delivery.  The real
problem, of course, is the other parties to the Protocol who vary in the degree of certainty of delivery. 
I think the EU has a secure position in this regard, although I am sure there will be laggards.  There will
be countries whose performance falls short of what they have committed themselves to, but the EU will
have its own internal arrangements for bringing them to book.
  14.  There is also a difficulty in the EU entering negotiations as a block.  The very process of
negotiations means you have to compromise from the agreed position where you start the negotiations. 
This obviously causes a strain then amongst the Member States as to how far you should be prepared
to compromise.  Are you confident that the EU is going to be a bit more effective to deal with those
strains in the future?
  (Mr Meacher) Again, I think the EU has a pretty good system here.  At these meetings at Bonn
and, again, the same at Marrakesh, I should think we spend only half our time talking to negotiating
partners such as the United States, Japan and developing countries.  The other half of the time is spent
on what is called "EU Co-ordination".  One learns to dread it.  It goes on all the time.  With every new
nuance in the negotiation we have the Presidency, whoever it is, calling a meeting to discuss the line that
has to be taken.  That works pretty well.  I do not know, otherwise, how 15 Member States can
organise themselves better.  I think it does work well.  If you have an open and transparent Presidency
- and that is nearly always the case - there is a full opportunity for objections to be raised, heard round
the table, and a view taken.  It is not done on the basis of votes, there is nearly always an emerging
consensus which is genuine.
  15.  Do you recognise the difficulty that does occur in the sense that the public in each Member
State will be pressurising politicians to adopt a certain stance?  Yes, the British Government is arguing,
as far as possible, with the good guys in terms of the debate, but there is always the sense that at the
end of the day the Member States have to reach agreement and it is possible to go back and say "We
did our best but we can only push the EU so far in its negotiating position".  Perhaps all 15 Member
State governments can go back to their electorates and say the same thing.  Somebody, in the end, is
needed to bring about compromise within the EU.  Is this a problem of transparency between the
negotiations that take place internally in the EU and the declared position of each Member State in
terms of their own electorate?
  (Mr Meacher) I am not sure how far climate change targets are a major election issue in each
country.  I think in the last election in the UK I do not recall the climate change issue in terms of
specifications like targets becoming an issue.  Indeed, one of the things that distresses me is how well
the electorate actually understands this process, because unless they understand it and take ownership
of it they are not going to change their behaviour in the way we need them to change, in terms of energy
efficiency, in terms of use of transport and in terms of willingness to make the shift from fossil fuels to
renewables.  It is not just for industry, it is for households to be aware of this process and committed
to it.  I suspect it is much the same in other Member States.  The pinch was in those discussions in the
latter half of 1998.  It did take two days of solid negotiation before we got agreement to the targets
within the EU bubble.  Those are now fixed.  They could be re-opened by a Member State but I think
it is unlikely and I think other Member States would be extremely reluctant to accept changes, because
of course if another State wants a reduction, everyone else in one form or another has to take an
increase.  I think they are regarded as more or less written in stone, the question is can they actually be
delivered?  We shall have annual communications - whatever the word is - annual statements,
submissions of data to the Commission keeping track of each country.  If countries begin to fall out of
the projected path there will certainly be discussion as to why this is the case, what action needs to be
taken and they will be very firmly pressed to come back on track.

                             Mr Todd
  16.  The flexible mechanisms that have been set out so far, are they essentially a cop-out for
wealthy countries to avoid some of the things that might be noticed by their electorates and instead
purchase gains elsewhere in the developing world?
  (Mr Meacher) That is probably the motivation of some of the countries who are keen on this, most
notably America.  However, of course, the American justification is a perfectly reasonable one, namely
that from the point of view of the environment it makes no difference whether a pound or tonne of
carbon is reduced in Chicago or in Calcutta.  The important thing in world economy terms is that it
should be done as cost-efficiently as possible.  That is a very sensible, perfectly reasonable argument. 
It became an issue in the negotiations between the United States saying "You leave us to do it the way
we think best and emissions trading is just as good" and the EU saying "Yes, but.  Yes, it is reasonable
we should be cost-efficient, but it would not be reasonable, in our view, for a country - let us take
America, which is responsible for a quarter of total emissions - obtaining the great majority of its credits
abroad."  Action does have to be taken with regard to the causes of the problem: transport, energy use
and fossil fuel consumption in the United States itself.  That was our view.  This arose over the rather
ugly word of "supplementarity", namely, how much action should be taken domestically and how much
from emissions trading.  Our view was that at least half should be through domestic action.  That is an
arbitrary figure, but there is a difference between 50/50 and, say, 80/20, and we thought 80 per cent
abroad 20 per cent at home was not adequate.  It has not really been very well resolved.  The formula
at Bonn was that domestic action should be a significant element.  You might not think much of that
language, but I can tell you that it has been fought over like Paschendale - endlessly fought over.  That
is the best we were able to get.
  17.  You did, in an earlier answer, say that flexible mechanisms had been resolved, but your answer
just now indicates that if the word "resolved" means defined in terms of their significance of use, one
would question whether that is right.  As you say, at Bonn a rather vague form of words was put in
place as to how far these may be construed to achieve the outcomes that are imposed on individual
nation states or trading blocks.
  (Mr Meacher) I said it had been resolved in the sense that a compromise had been achieved which
is not what the EU wants but which we think we can live with.  It is not ideal.  If you have got nearly
180 countries in the world and you have no means of compulsion and you can only make progress on
the basis of consensus where all countries agree, you are not going to get everything you want. 
Obviously, there is a deal breaker, there is a point below or beyond which one is not prepared to go. 
Our judgment is that the formula on supplementarity whilst not very satisfactory was certainly not a deal
breaker, and that is where it stands.
  18.  What do you think "supplemental to domestic action" actually means?
  (Mr Meacher) Our view is that that phrase means that the majority part should be domestic action. 
That is the interpretation that we have reached.
  19.  So rather better than 50/50?  So your view is that perhaps this deal was a little better than you
might have thought?
  (Mr Meacher) That is our view of it.  It is not the American view of what the phrase means. 
"Supplemental to domestic action" is the wording of the Kyoto Protocol.  The question then is "What
does it actually mean?"  I have indicated how the EU interprets that phrase, but the United States does
not accept that it means that at least half of the action must be domestic.  They are saying that there are
many sources of reductions, and supplemental to domestic action is not supplemental to half being
domestic, but supplemental to a variety of other ways of achieving the reduction.  It has all become
rather theological, I am afraid, but since the United States is not there for the moment it does also
become rather academic.
  20.  Not quite, because the United States were not the only country advocating the use of flexible
mechanisms.  I think the Japanese were also reasonably enthusiastic about this.  Presumably, it goes
a little beyond the theology because the reason why one should seek to achieve progress at a nation
state level must be if one is looking to the longer term.  There is a limit on what you can achieve by
trading out of poorer countries, and that tackling, as you said, the root cause of the problem has to be
done at some point.  So to simply postpone the evil day on which you confront your electorate with the
need, say, in the United States, to raise the duty on fossil fuels on the gas they guzzle in their motor cars,
means that severer action will be required at some later stage.
  (Mr Meacher) That is true, except, I think, the evil day - as you put it - is actually quite a long way
  21.  Certainly in American electoral terms, you mean?
  (Mr Meacher) What I mean is that the capacity to obtain emission reduction credits from trading
is very substantial, and it could go a long way to meeting targets for a long period ahead.  Again, to be
fair to America, I am not at all sure that America necessarily is looking to achieve, say, 80 per cent of
its emission reduction credits from trading.  I have spoken, of course, to ministers from the United
States.  They would say that is not necessarily so, and I think that is probably correct.  They are not
willing to be tied down to a precise formula.  We have said it has got to be 51 per cent domestic.  They
would be in trouble if it then turned out to be 48 per cent or 43.  They want to have a measure of
flexibility.  I do think the capacity for achieving emission reduction targets inside the United States is
very considerable.  Look at what has happened with electricity in California.  The capacity for achieving
reductions by a change in the energy industry of the United States is very, very considerable.  I would
expect, if the United States came back into the process, that they would indeed pursue that route,
amongst others.

                             Mr Jack
  22.  Can you help me to understand?  You mentioned a very interesting word a second ago,
"theological", in relation to emissions trading.  Let us come away from the theological to the practical. 
How is it going to work?  Who will police the trading operation?  How do you get started in emissions
  (Mr Meacher) There is a compliance procedure.  Of course, we agree basically what those
procedures are as part of the nitty-gritty detail which started at Bonn and, hopefully, will finish at
Marrakesh.  That goes into a great deal of detail in the subtext and the schedules and the rest.  There
will still be, of course, questions that arise which are not going to be covered by the text.  One has an
executive board which operates under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has
representations.  Of course, this is contested as well as between Annex 1 and G77 and China.
  23.  Just hold on a second.  Give me a practical example of a bit of emission trading that I might
be able to understand.  Let me bring it down to its simplest level.  Who, in the United Kingdom, is
eligible to trade?  Give me an example of how they would go about conducting an emission trade? 
Who would they tell that they had done it?
  (Mr Meacher) That, again, is an interesting question because the UK is leading the world in setting
up a Climate Change Projects Office which is to have a test run in this country about greenhouse gas
trading.  The people who are eligible for that would have to indicate that they wish to be members of
the trading system.  There is an incentive; the Government is actually providing a financial incentive for
companies to join.  There are two ways of doing it: one is to enforce a cap, which means you are
required to meet that target or, if you do not have a mandatory target, you encourage companies, on
the basis of financial incentive, to try and reach their targets and they are given some assistance to come
into the system.  That would have to have rules, which of course we are drawing up at the present time. 
Countries coming into the system would, of course, like joining any club, be indicating their adherence
to those rules.  Again, it raises the question, what are the penalties if people fail to comply or break the
rules?  We are having to do that in the UK and exactly the same will apply in the global trading system.
  24.  If we are inventing our own arrangements, does that mean that all of our emission trading from
the United Kingdom standpoint will be on a bilateral basis with whomsoever wants to be a customer
for a trade?  For example, say an electricity company decided that it wanted to enter this field.  In what
ways can it go about trading and how would the price mechanism be set for this trade?  You have got
the United States out of the market, if you like, to buy carbon credits, so would I assume from that that
the market in carbon credits is very low?  Has anybody put a monetary value on this?  I am sorry if I
am feeling in the dark (it sounds like, in a way, you are too)  in trying to find how this thing actually
works in practice.
  (Mr Meacher) In some sense we are.  That is why we are setting up this test run system, so that
we can work out some of the modalities in a more practical way than people sitting down and writing
rules.  It is rather a different thing as to how it works in practice.  Of course, the price of carbon is a
very important issue.  No government is going to be able to just simply write down a figure and say
"That is the price of carbon"; it has to develop within the market.  It develops, of course, in terms of
the value which is put on carbon reduction in order to meet targets.  The system of emissions trading
is that a group of companies agree a collective target in terms of carbon reduction.  Then the manner
in which they do that determines the benefits that they get from it.  If it is agreed, say, on a 5 per cent
reduction in a year, then those that achieve 7.5 or 10 per cent make a gain and are able to make a
profit out of it by selling the surplus credits that they have generated to the laggards who have not
achieved the 5 per cent but, because they are obliged to meet that target, they have to buy from the
more successful, more efficient companies in order to do that.  So it is a very good system which is
market driven but, at the same time, does achieve a definite environmental target in terms of emission
  25.  Am I right in saying that the mechanism you have described, if you like the bespoke UK
mechanism, is out of line with the European Union mechanism?  If so, what implications are there for
that, bearing in mind David Borrow's earlier line of questioning?
  (Mr Meacher) That is, again, an important question.  We are first into the field.  I think we are right
to do that.  There are good opportunities for getting British companies thinking about the potential for
this and how it works, and there are significant opportunities for the City of London in this.  The EU
is proposing to do this, and of course that will be mandatory whereas ours is voluntary.  There are some
other changes; there is always the question of is it just about CO2, is it about the six main greenhouse
  26.  Is there a risk of conflict there?
  (Mr Meacher) There is.  I was about to say that, of course, the Commission is well aware of what
we are doing and we are keenly talking to the Commission to try and ensure that there is as much
seamless compatibility between the two systems as possible.  Because the EU are even more in the
dark then we are, they are some way away from producing such a system, but if it is going to be
mandatory it will take quite a time before they actually produce it.  We will strongly be arguing that it
should be compatible with our system.
  27.  When would you envisage, if you like, the first real world trade being conducted from a UK
source?  Mr Jack
  28.  Who are the potential suppliers, if you like, of what we want to buy?  Who is on the selling side
of the market?
  (Mr Meacher) Sarah is saying it has already started. When did it start?
  (Ms Hendry) I think about one month ago the first forward trade anticipating the United Kingdom
scheme took place.  I cannot tell you who the parties were. That is an indication of the interest that
companies have.
  29.  You cannot tell me, as the global supremo, who they were?
  (Ms Hendry) I cannot remember.
  (Mr Meacher) We can give you a note if you want that.

  30.  Can I try and clarify it for my purposes, you do not then give companies an entitlement to remit,
what you do is they trade upon a commitment to reduce?
  (Mr Meacher) Yes.
  31.  If I would normally drive, for the sake of argument - I am trying to draw an analogy - 20,000
miles a year and I say that I would try and cut my driving down to 15,000 miles and therefore I have
5,000 miles that are tradeable, does that work as an analogy?
  (Mr Meacher) It does.  What we are saying is if companies volunteer into this system - the
government has laid  aside œ30 million as an incentive to encourage them to join up - they are joining
up to achieve a voluntary target.  The buyers and the sellers are the companies within the system, they
are not consumers outside.  The sellers are those who have over-achieved their target, the buyers are
those who have under-achieved, but it is all within the system itself.
  32.  If you have futures trading then you are trading on anticipated over performance or under
performance, are you not?
  (Ms Hendry) Can I clarify it, Chairman, the fundamental principle of the United Kingdom pilot
scheme, which is all about companies getting experience of how this might work, is a voluntary one and
those companies who do not already have targets under the Climate Change Agreement would be able
to bid for an incentive. That is all about companies looking at which way the wind is blowing and
deciding in due course if they are going to be required to make reductions and therefore it in their
interest to do this in advance, get experience, and they are partly doing it for public credibility and
public image reasons.  That is the principle on which companies are participating in the United Kingdom
pilot scheme.  The Commission's proposal for a European scheme, which might come into effect as
soon as 2005,  that is their ambition, we think that is quite an ambitious target, that we believe would
be the European-wide successor to some of the experience that we gained on an United Kingdom basis
and we hope that we will learn from that.  The proposal under the Commission's scheme is to set
mandatory targets for sectors that have been required to participate and then on that basis they would
have a signed amount or target to meet and therefore it would be very clear if their motivation in trading.
  Chairman: The minister did suggest he would send us a note on this, I think, literally an idiot's guide,
think of me, on this one and how it would work in practice, an imagery model.

                             Mr Jack
  33.  I conclude by saying can the guide also give us some indication of how the system would be
policed. I can see that at this moment in time you can strike a balance between those who are up and
those who are down but I am not quite certain then how you monitor the sustainability of that position?
  (Mr Meacher) We will certainly provide a note on that as well.
  Mr Jack: Thank you.

                           David Taylor
  34.  We do not want to get too hung up on the Chairman's analogy, but to develop it a little further, 
if we had to ask MPs to reduce their mileage by 10 per cent, would you ever get down to 15,000,
3,000 more than the 10 per cent target then, as I understand it, and you could sell those 3,000 surplus
to myself, Mark and Phil Sawford, is that the way the mechanism would work?
  (Mr Meacher) Basically, yes.
  Chairman: There are one or two Labour MPs with new Jaguars.

                           David Taylor
  35.  Can we go back to Bonn, that confident morning when you came out and said it was a brilliant
day for the environment, and at the same time you were uttering those immortal words there were other
delegates who were expressing their dismay and disappointment and frustration at the failure of the
negotiations to reach a conclusion in relation to the combined mechanisms that have been referred to,
particularly because of the pressure of Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia.  Are you optimistic that
in Marrakesh that those four countries in particular will, indeed, agree an enforceable compliance
mechanism?  If that is not to happen would you go along with the weakening yet further to allow them
to sign up and therefore to ratify.  It is a major concern, because the previous track record of voluntary 
agreements has been pretty poor and if Kyoto is to be diluted to the point that it is effectively a
voluntary mechanism it will inevitably fail and where do we go from there?  Is that an issue of
compliance mechanism, particularly for the four countries I have mentioned, and how much more
negotiation, how many more concessions need to be made, or will they render the treaty a dead letter
if that is what happens?
  (Mr Meacher) We shall see.  I certainly believe that the compliance mechanism must be
enforceable.  I think we are all agreed that if you do not have an enforceable set of rules it will unravel. 
There is no question, it cannot be voluntary, it has to be mandatory.  The question is as to the detail
about which way that should be done.  There was agreement reached at Bonn on the compliance
mechanism about the penalty, because that is a rather important issue, what happens if countries fail? 
There was agreement that any excess emission in any given commitment period would have to be
addressed in the next commitment period at a rate of 1.3 faults. In other words, supposing I as a
country failed to meet the target by 10 million tonnes, in the next commitment period I not only have
to meet the 10 million tonnes that I have failed to, in addition to whatever else the target is of the next
period, but a further three  million tonnes as a penalty.  Because I failed in the first round I would have
to reduce in accordance with the new target, plus a penalty of œ30 million.  There are still a lot of issues.
Whether the compliance procedure is an amendment to the Kyoto protocol or not the umbrella group
wish it to be neutral.  There is the issue that the umbrella group, and I have to say the EU, want to have
50/50 memberships between Annex 1 countries and developing countries in the enforcement and what
is called the facilitative branch. The key point is the enforcement branch, we are the ones that are going
to have to meet these targets and we believe we should have at least 50 per cent of the places in the
enforcement branch.  That is still disputed in some parts of G77.  Thirdly, the umbrella group is
opposed to one state being able to trigger a compliance procedure against another.  One can see the
kind of infighting that that could generate but it does produce a transparency within the system which
we, on balance, think is desirable, but that is a point of contention. The umbrella group want sanctions
to be more voluntary and in their terms less rigorous. This is where we come to the point you have
made, that our view is perfectly clear on that, it cannot be voluntary, it has to be clear, precise and
enforceable.  Lastly, there is a  point of contention about the EU bubble because the umbrella group
have always used the bubble as a means of getting back at the EU, which they see as leading this
process, cheating on the side by having a system of trading within the bubble which is not subject to the
trading requirements of the wider trading system, whereas the EU position is, we are going to deliver
that target collectively and as long as we do that we are permitted to do that under Article 4 and we
should not be subject to any further obligation.  There are these lists of technical issues that remain to
be resolved, they have not been resolved.  The bottom line is that it has to be clear and enforceable,
if it is not that there will not be agreement.  I do believe that despite the reluctance of some of the
countries you mentioned I think the chances of getting agreement after further haggling and further
technical changes is high.

                             Mr Todd
  36.  We will require an objective process of measurement in this, an audit process to identify
outcomes, which looks like a tremendously attractive growth opportunity, how is that going to be done? 
Who is going to do it?  If we are going to trade these things round I want to know that David has
actually done what he has said, because otherwise he  sold me a dud - he might be doing that anyway?
  (Mr Meacher) Absolutely.  You are entirely right, the purpose of the compliance procedure, to put
it in non-diplomatic terms, is to stop countries cheating. There has to be a system, as I say, which is
therefore enforceable.  We also need a system of monitoring and reporting, which is as near foolproof
as we can get it.
  37.  We have to make sure there is no argument about the scientific outcome and there has to be
a measurement process.  Everyone can say, that amount of carbon was the outcome of that particular
process.  Is there sufficient scientific consensus that can be agreed with precision?
  (Mr Meacher) The difficulty about that is that the national registry for each of the signatory parties
are required on an annual basis to make a submission to the secretariat of the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change, which is run by Michael Couthhard(?).  That provides the basic
transparent data of what each country is claiming.  Of course if there were doubts about this questions
could be raised at meetings or conferences of the parties, which take place every year, undoubtedly
there will be questions raised, and the country which is queried would, of course, make a  response. 
This has to be an open and transparent process and it is not easy. Particularly in regard to sinks the
science at the moment is not yet certain. There are genuine uncertainties.
  38.  What you are talking about very often is net outcomes. Are you talking about, particularly with
carbon sinks there is a process, a natural process in the use of these carbons, it is not as simple as you
plant a load of trees and you get something at the end, there is a net process within natural activity that
you are talking about.
  (Mr Meacher) Of course the issue about whether it is gross or net is one of the issues that has been
discussed.  I agree with you, I think it is incremental, it is the additional gain which is significant. 
Supposing you have a forest which is in place in 1990 clearly you cannot count the fact that forest there,
because it is doing it anyway. We are talking about extra effort.
  39.  Also, forests change over time and trees cease to consume carbon and instead they die, it is
a natural process.
  (Mr Meacher) Absolutely.
  40.  I hope I have not unintentionally snatched  something that somebody else was going to talk
about. There is a process of audit and precise science here which is going to need to be agreed across
the world, otherwise what we will get is a huge amount of haggling and argument, with people
producing their own scientists saying, "this is what our position is", and we end up sending it to UN
inspectors to examine it.
  (Mr Meacher) As I say, first of all, there are real uncertainties about trees, because young trees
do absorb carbon, older trees do not.  Also, they may fall into the ground of the normal carbon cycle
or they are burned and, of course, you then get the worst result, they are no longer saving carbon, they
are generating it.  The question of methodology is a very difficult one and the intergovernmental panel
has got its own scientists trying to get agreement internationally about how these things are counted. 
Perhaps Sarah Hendry might like to say a word about methodology.
  (Ms Hendry) All I was going to add was that even beyond the detailed rules that we will be
negotiating on different mechanisms in Marrakesh there will then be detailed methodologies that will
have to be worked out by the different enforcement branches, for example the CDM Executive Board,
which give advice to the Convention.  All that still  remains to be done and to be tied down.

  41.  That sounds like the "all that remains to be done" is huge?
  (Mr Meacher) It is.
  (Ms Hendry) There is lot.
  42.  If we do not have total consensus to whether the climate change is taking place in the way we
understand it, to get some degree of consensus on measurement methodologies is going to be an
incredibly long process. What progress has been made so far?
  (Mr Meacher) I think there has been further work. There have been recent statements by scientific
bodies which have tried to refine this question but a great deal of further work does need to be done. 
The point I really want to make is we are talking about the first commitment period, that is 2008 to
2012, so we do have a period of time in which that work can be done, and I think it can.
  (Ms Hendry) I agree there is a lot of work to be done. Some preparatory work is being done,
some thinking on what you call base lines, which are about determining the additionality of projects
under the various mechanisms, has already been done on that but I agree there is still a lot to be done

  43.  My thinking of the virtue of planting trees  was dissipated by the fact that I burn logs, I wonder
whether I ought to be doing trade with myself, how many trees do I need to plant to justify  the logs I
  (Mr Meacher) You should not be generating doubt more than you strictly need to, Chairman. Log
burning, that is another issue.

                           Mr Mitchell
  44.  You have just depressed me, as somebody who has reached the tree age of stopping
absorbing.  If you succeed in all that, because it is a large, difficult argument of the hypothetical, in the
first place we should replace "city" with "Meacher" (?).
 I just want to move on to a clean development mechanism, that seems to me to promise a line of
development.  In view of the claim in Science magazine, that the developing countries would be
spending $1.7 trillion in the next 15 years on new electricity generating capacity I wonder if the
provision, which is not financed yet, it is going to be small-scale in any case, is going to be totally
inadequate?  Are these countries going to end up with fossil burning power stations?
  (Mr Meacher) We are doing our level best to try and prevent that.  As you say, the industrialisation
of the developing countries is going on fast, I do not think any of us want to slow it down, because that
is their route to prosperity and the quality of life that we  have and I presume we all want them to have
it, but we want them to take a different route from the one that we took.  The purpose, as you say, of
a big development mechanism is to find an alternative way of providing energy for those economies
which minimises fossil fuels and encourages enormous expansion of a clean development mechanism. 
The significance of it is shown by the fact that in 20 years, approximately plus or minus, the emissions
of the developing countries will actually exceed those of the developed countries.  It is exceedingly
important that they are brought into the system, that they accept, not just voluntarily make reductions, 
the disciplines we are imposing on ourselves in making this shift away from fossil fuels to renewables. 
There are, of course, immense benefits in doing this. The point about renewables, unlike fossil fuel, is
that once a system is in place it carries on forever.  Solar power, which is the ultimate, which is not
going to become commercially tappable probably for 15 or 20 years, is literally infinite in the energy
which it can provide. We do need to encourage and incentivise them to go down that route as much
as possible.  China has enormous coal reserves, either to get China to use alternative fuel sources or
to develop a clean coal technology,  which, again, some companies want to develop. RJ Budge (?) in
this country  certainly want to develop it, they want to have a pilot plant, and if that could be made
commercially viable that is again a way of tapping those enormous coal reserves without over damaging
the environment.  The clean development mechanism is very important, it could be seen as a major new
driver for a different world economic order over this next century.  I would not put it less than that.

  45.  I agree.  Our own role in setting things up is inadequate, to say the least, look at what
happened to the wing power, look what has happened to tidal power and look what has happened with
solar panels.  We need to make a bigger contribution and effort in our own backyard before we can
encourage this in developing countries.
  (Mr Meacher) That is absolutely true.  The government has set a 10 per cent renewable target by
2010, in other words at least 10 per cent of the generation of electricity by 2010 in the United Kingdom
must come from renewable sources.  We are still a long way off from achieving that, I think we are
about 2.8 per cent at the present time, something of that order.  We are also trying to develop good
quality combined heat and power, that is CHP, and, again we have a 10,000  megawatt target for
2010.  We are, I think, slightly below half  that at the present time.  We do need to do a lot more and
we can do a lot more, particularly in onshore and offshore wind farms and bio-mass as well as the other
elements we have not mentioned where there is considerable potential.  The development of  bio-diesel
and bio-ethanol is good for agriculture and good for the environment.
  46.  Can I ask about nuclear power as well, the EU stood firm on refusing to allow nuclear power
plants to be constructed in the developing countries, these are a way of avoiding fossil fuel problems,
which you are primarily concerned with, for what scientific reason was nuclear power precluded?
  (Mr Meacher) It is not a scientific reason, it is perfectly true that the generation of nuclear power
stations whilst it is not devoid of CO2, because of input,  it is obviously at a very low level indeed. The
reason for rejecting it was that it was not regarded as a long-term sustainable technology.  This is very,
very controversial.  There are strong views, Canada, for example, are extremely keen to see credit
generated from nuclear facilities included and the great majority of the EU, 13 out of the 15 countries,
are absolutely adamantly opposed.  The United Kingdom  and France took, I shall put it more
eloquently, a more balanced view, but the overwhelming view ---
  Chairman: That is how you would describe it, a more balanced view.

                             Mr Todd
  47.  Sat on the fence.
  (Mr Meacher) There are two sides to this argument.  The overwhelming political view, it is not
scientific, it is a political view, is that the United Kingdom should be out.  That, after a lot of discussion,
was in the end agreed.

                            Mr Lepper
  48.  Can I take up a point Austin Mitchell has made, our own energy policy has important bearings
on reaching our own targets and contributing overall to global targets and yet within government, as I
understand it, it is the DTI which has the overall responsibility for that policy.  Do you see any problems
between that split of responsibility, here you are on the global platform arguing a case and negotiating,
from the point of view of your department, and yet the very area of internal domestic policy, which has
an important bearing on what we are contributing, rests with another department?
  (Mr Meacher) I think David Lepper is giving me an opportunity to make a bid for other territory
which, presumably, includes not only the energy industry but  also transport, because transport is the
largest single source of rising CO2 emissions.  I do not think there is a problem.  I think there is a strong
argument for saying the division is right, for this reason, I think that the split between sponsorship by
a ministry and regulation should be observed in terms of different departments, there are a number of
examples in Whitehall where that is not so.  In principle I think it is right that a department which
sponsors a particular industry should not be the same one that regulates it.  It is not a firm or universal
rule and Chinese rules can operate but on balance I think the DEFRA's, or as it was the DETR,
responsibility for energy efficiency, which is basically a regulatory mechanism to improve the use of
energy, should be separate from the department that  sponsors electricity and gas.

                             Mr Jack
  49.  You mentioned in glowing terms the question of combined heat and power, can you explain
to me why in the context of the consideration by the House of the last Finance Bill, for example, I
continue to receive representations from companies like British Sugar telling me they were unable,
because of the operation of the Climate Levy Change, to justify further investment in what appeared
to be quite a substantial development  in the field of combined heat and power.  There appears to be
a conflict between the environmental tax and your desire to see CHP expanded.
  (Mr Meacher) I do understand that.  We are anxious to see a development of CHP, it has a major
contribution to make.  There are certain institutional barriers at the present time which are making that
more difficult. We have given a derogation from the Climate Levy Change ---
  50.  Is that shorthand for the Treasury institutional barrier?
  (Mr Meacher) On this occasion it is not.  I will explain what those barriers are, the Treasury are
not responsible for this.  We have given exemption for the Climate Levy Change for good quality CHP,
the definition is a technical one.  We are aware that that does not apply in the case of exports of CHP
to other industrial users, and I think that is what British Sugar are concerned about.  We are proposing,
shortly, to bring forward a new CHP strategy, which we will publish.  All I can say to you at this point
is that we are intending to address some of those barriers.  We are looking precisely at the issue you
have raised.

                             Mr Todd
  51.  The relationship with developing countries. We explored opportunities for trading, another
approach would be to say that the main reason we have this problem is that the developed world
indulgently used fossil fuels at a time it was industrialising and that the correct approach is to provide
straightforward aid to developing countries, not to trade emissions, to provide for appropriate projects
which would protect our environment.  What is the balance between those two mechanisms or is there
a balance or does it only provide one way traffic on that?
  (Mr Meacher) Both are important.  There are four issues which were basically raised at Bonn, as
I say, there was the question of a flexible mechanism, the question of sinks compliance and the last one
is aid and support for developing countries, we do recognise that as an important area with regard to
the whole Kyoto system.
  52.  That aid is not necessarily linked to some saving that the developed world may achieve through
  (Mr Meacher) No, it is not.
  53.  It is not a traded aid?
  (Mr Meacher) No, it is not.  It is in the form of money for technological transfer, for capacity
building and adaptation.  Those are the three headings.  The amount and, again, this is arbitrary, can
be less, which perhaps some developed countries would like, or more, which the G 77 want.  The
amount that we agreed at Bonn, and a political declaration was made by the EU and a number of other
major countries, excluding United States, Japan and Australia, of $410 million being made available for
these powers. As to whether that is adequate or sufficient is an open question.
  54.  Over what time scale?
  (Mr Meacher) With regard to the first commitment period.
  55.  Was that broken down by nation state or trading block. Do we own part of that $410 million.
  (Mr Meacher) We are certainly contributors, according to a formula agreed within the EU.
  56.  What figure of that is ours?
  (Mr Meacher) I am trying to recall.  I cannot recall. Rather than just make a stab at the figure, it
is roughly what you would expect relative to that total. I would prefer to drop you a short note to say
what it is.

  57.  I am sure somebody behind you could make a phone call and jog your memory before the
session is finished.
  (Mr Meacher) We will get the information by courier pigeon before the end of the session.

                             Mr Todd
  58.  What mechanism is in place to ensure that we  meet that?  Is it a long-ish time scale, where one
could be talking about not paying that out for some seven or eight years.
  (Mr Meacher) All of this is geared to the first commitment period, that is the target frame.
Developing countries could certainly expect that money to begin to be delivered at an earlier stage.
  59.  An earlier stage meaning?
  (Mr Meacher) As soon as may be.  No doubt this subject will come up again at Marrakesh and
they will be saying, "you agreed 410 million, when are we going to start seeing it?"
  (Ms Hendry) The parties to the agreement are meeting in December hopefully in Washington.
  60.  To nail this down, the timetable and precise figures, are these linked to particular projects? 
Do they have to be linked to a particular project? You mentioned a range of things they could fund, are
they essentially open-ended, a contribution to particular countries to capacity build or technology
transfer or whatever?
  (Mr Meacher) There is uncertainty about that.  On the payment side I think the allocation is fairly
clear. How the money is distributed and who gets it will be a much more contentious issue for them.
  61.  Yes.  Also, how it is distributed between a variety of laudable goals?
  (Mr Meacher) Yes.
  62.  You are saying that it is up to the developing countries to argue that one out?
  (Mr Meacher) It is basically.  I do not think it is for us, the Annex 1 countries, to tell them how it
should be used.  As long as they use it within the range of purposes for which it is intend, which I am
sure they will, it is a matter that is up to them.  Whether they decide to do it in terms of economic size
or in terms of degree of poverty and need is a matter for them. Obviously G77 is a hugely heterogenous
category and the difference between China, India, Brazil and Indonesia at one end and the Sub Sahara
and Africa at the other is enormous. How you allocate it is open to question?

                           David Taylor
  63.  What is to stop developing countries reclassifying aid they had already promised to bring it
within this heading and thereby meet the obligations that might have been agreed to?
  (Mr Meacher) Again, that was an issue. One major developed country in particular was extremely
keen that contributions for the purposes I have indicated, to transfer adaptation and capacity building,
should be payable out of ODA.  The EU took a line and the United  Kingdom strongly supported it,
that it should be additional to ODA money.  That is the current position.

                             Mr Jack
  64.  We have had some discussion so far about sinks and I just wanted to know basically whether
you felt that the sort of growing importance attached to them was good negotiating flexibility or whether
it represented, if you like, a scientifically robust way of genuinely dealing with emissions on a continuing
basis, because some of the statements coming out under the heading of our own climate change
programme,, "it believes a reduction in emissions should be the principle policy response, given the
vulnerability and uncertainty associated with the sinks process."
  (Mr Meacher) There is no doubt, for the reasons I partly mentioned, that sinks are vulnerable,
carbon sinks in the form of forestation, because they can burn and the loss to the world with the forest
fires in Indonesia and in Brazil a couple of years ago were on a colossal scale.  Indeed I heard Klaus
Cuthbert, who is the Executive Director of UNIF (?), who visited Indonesia at the time, saying that the
rough calculation was that the increase in CO2 generated by those fires in Asia were greater than the
whole of the CO2 emissions from Europe in that year.  The vulnerability is on a  colossal scale. 
Uncertainty we have already mentioned, there is uncertainty but I think we can refine that. The truth is
that sinks are in the Kyoto Protocol, carbon sinks are a phenomenon that nobody denies, it does
happen.  The question is, how you decide on additionality and how you decide on quantification,
bearing in mind the nature of the product, the age of the forest, its type, et cetera.  It is for those reasons
that we are very cautious about it.  There is no question of eliminating carbon sinks them from the
protocol.  Countries can justifiably regard that as part of the way in which they meet their targets.  The
truth is in Bonn I actually think that we did quite well on targets.  Before Bonn there was a view that
if existing forests were allowed there could be something like 1,000 million tonnes of carbon extra
which would be allowed in, which would really blow the whole Kyoto five per cent target.  That has
now been removed.  The Bonn agreement capped the forest management in terms of sinks at 50 million
tonnes of carbon a year, that is one twentieth of what it might have been, and it is worth the flexibility,
which we were obliged to offer to Japan and Canada in order to get the agreement.  We gave them
more than we would have liked but the overall gain is greatly  disproportionate to the small and marginal
concession we had to make.
  65.  Can I be clear, are we talking about the use of forestation as net to what there is or allowing
what is already on the ground to count towards each nation's target?
  (Mr Meacher) Again, this is one of the issues.  It will be argued by states, has been argued by
states, that improved forest management should be allowed even with regard to existing forests.  It is
one thing to plant new forests, afforestation, reforestation, they count, but what about an existing forest
where as a result of improved forest management, whatever exactly that means, one can claim certain
targets?  This is where the uncertainty is very great and we need to have agreed rules before we start.

                             Mr Jack
  66.  Can we just have a look at the United Kingdom Government's attitude to all this because on
page 21 of the Executive Summary of the England Rural Development Programme 2000-06 we find
this encouraging statement: "To encourage the development of energy crops in order to contribute both
to EU commitments on the reduction of greenhouse gases and to the UK Government's target to
produce ten per cent of electricity from renewable sources.  These crops also offer a diversification
opportunity for farmers".  That is under a section headed "Energy Crops Scheme (Miscanthus)".  Are
you as enthusiastic now that you are part of the Department that espouses this particular view as you
were under your former incarnation?  Are you going to really encourage UK agriculture to take up this
  (Mr Meacher) Yes, we are but ----

  67.  Miscanthus is coarse grass.
  (Mr Meacher) Yes, I realise that.
  68.  I know you do.
  (Mr Meacher) Yes, we are but subject to the cost efficiency.  These do need to be encouraged,
for example an article for cuts in duty.  They have to be justified in terms of loss to the Exchequer
against other alternative ways of achieving CO2 emission reductions.  If they can be justified, yes, we
will certainly be supporting them and, indeed, the Chancellor announced in the last Budget a Green
Fuels Challenge and invited industry to come forward with proposals about how they can extend
exactly the kind of source for transport fuel that you are referring to.
  69.  Am I right in saying that the original target for the Climate Change Levy was a saving of two
million tonnes of CO2, or carbon dioxide?
  (Mr Meacher) Two million tonnes as a saving?
  70.  As a target of the Climate Change Levy.
  (Mr Meacher) Partly.  We expected that as a result of the Climate Change Agreement there might
be a gain of the order of two million tonnes, but in addition the price differential, we believe, could also
generate a further two million tonnes.  In total it could be around four million tonnes.
  71.  Interestingly when I put down a series of parliamentary questions last year it was confirmed
that in terms of the four million tonne figure you have quoted you would need about 200,000 hectares
of short rotational coppice to absorb that, which I think represents about one per cent of the UK's
cultivatable area transferred to SRC.  Do you do any kind of scenario play like that to work out
relationships between these big number targets and what could be achieved by SRC and the
contribution it makes to renewable energies?
  (Mr Meacher) I think a fair answer to that is yes.  We are looking at all sources for saving carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gases.  The strategy paper that we published last year does look at all
the main sectors where this can be expected, including the one you have just mentioned.  It is not the
case that if we can do more in one area then we can exclude another.  I know of your concerns from
previous discussions about this with regard to the Climate Change Levy and its effect on industry.  The
fact is industry is as wasteful in the use of energy as many households are and, therefore, to have an
incentive or a lever to improve energy efficiency is actually valuable to that industry itself.  Of course
there is a capital outlay while one either changes process plants or puts in place equipment which will
save energy, but within a payback period which may be a year and a half, five years, I certainly think
not more than seven years in most cases, there is an actual saving in the utilisation of energy and it is
actually good for the bottom line.  We are only encouraging industry to do what is in its own long-term
self-interest.  The premise of your argument if we could do more in terms of miscanthus and bioethanol
and SRC then we could exclude industry from the rigours of the Climate Change Levy, I would not
agree with that premise, I think we need both.
  72.  I am not necessarily saying I would disagree with that in the light of the earlier discussion when
you illustrated the size of the problem.  I think what was at the back of my mind was part of the agenda
that this Committee is going to consider in the future is the future form of our agricultural industry and
new things for agriculture to do with the land mass address part of this issue.  I was looking for some
signals that, in spite of the odd question mark about the value of sinks both in terms of science and
monitorability, we would still be encouraging this type of thinking, development, investment in it in the
context of our own UK agriculture.
  (Mr Meacher) Certainly.

                           Patrick Hall
  73.  Minister, I understand that the most significant natural carbon sinks are the world's oceans,
if I am right in that.
  (Mr Meacher) They are certainly a sink and they are certainly the largest.  The seas cover 71 per
cent of the surface of the earth, so they are enormous.  On the other hand, I think the degree of carbon
sequestration by oceans within a certain magnitude is less than forests.  Trees absorb carbon more than
the oceans but because the oceans are so vast, yes, there is an effect.
  74.  They play a very important role.
  (Mr Meacher) Yes.
  75.  So protection of the global marine environment is an important element in looking at and
dealing with climate change.  To what extent do you think that this is addressed in Kyoto?
  (Mr Meacher) It has certainly had very little discussion, the main discussion is about the role of
forests.  After all, the oceans are there whether we like it or not and although we can degrade them,
and I am afraid we do by a number of our practices, both land based pollution but also pollution at sea,
they also have an internal cleansing capacity on a significant scale and they are there but, of course,
plankton and other small marine species do have a role in absorbing carbon, that is perfectly true.  How
far any state can claim the benefit of this because if we are talking about oceans which are well away
from the land no-one has responsibility for them and, secondly, there is no incremental effort involved,
it is simply a natural process which is beneficial up to a certain level.
  76.  It is a natural process that we are putting at risk ultimately if we continue to pollute.  Therefore,
is it not something that should be examined in the future so that the plankton can continue to perform
their very helpful function?
  (Mr Meacher) I very much agree with that and, indeed, the UK Government in this year is giving
considerable attention to this issue ourselves.  We have protection of terrestrial species with SSSIs. 
We do realise that the protection of marine species is at a much lower level and we are looking, and
indeed I met a number of the relevant interests, the stakeholders, including not just the NGOs but the
ports developers, literally in this last week to look at ways by which compatibly with the interests of the
parties, if that is possible, we could improve the protection of the marine ecosystem.  There has also
been talk from the NGOs about a new Oceans Act.   There is awareness of this issue but of course the
UK can only do a limited amount itself and it is only multilateral agreements which are going to be
effective.  There are, of course, many such international agreements in place.  UNLOSC, the Law of
the Sea Conference, and the IMO, the International Maritime Organisation, are already responsible for
trying to reduce pollution in the wider oceans.
  77.  I am just trying to make the point that I do not think it has been given enough significant
attention in the context of looking at climate change and I think that has got to be put right, it has got
to be addressed.
  (Mr Meacher) That is an interesting point and I do think that when the more immediate pressing
issues about the utilisation of terrestrial sinks has been settled, that is something which perhaps the
scientists could give more attention to and put some quantification on it which I cannot at this moment.

                           Mr Mitchell
  78.  Are we preparing an Oceans Act?
  (Mr Meacher) No, no.
  79.  Why not?
  (Mr Meacher) I see.  I did say that the  

                             Mr Jack
  80.  It is the Grimsby man.
  (Mr Meacher) Some of the NGOs have been asking for that: WWF and others have been stressing
the need for that.  We are looking at our role in terms of marine stewardship.  The Government is giving
some quite high profile attention to that this year.  If there is justification for something like legislation
in terms of our responsibility towards the wider oceans then we are perfectly prepared to look at it. 
As I say, I am not making any commitment here at all.  I am saying it is an important issue and if there
is an issue it is one which I think needs to be raised in the international forum. 
  Chairman: Blue Planet, 9pm, BBC1, David Attenborough, every Wednesday, big on plankton. 

                            Mr Borrow
  81.  I want to follow on from what Patrick has just said.  I think Patrick has raised issues which are
not at the heart of the Kyoto Agreement and obviously at the meeting in Marrakesh you will be
focussing on the Kyoto Protocol and what follows from that.  I wonder to what extent you are looking
now, or will be looking in Marrakesh, or when you will be considering the need for another protocol
to take the whole process forward from Kyoto?  It may be looking a bit too much in the distant future. 
Are we beginning to think about what follows on from Kyoto?
  (Mr Meacher) Well, Kyoto is, I think, historic in the sense that I cannot recall any other precedent
where there is agreement which is worldwide, with the possible exception at the moment of the United
States, which of course is a very important exception, but they did sign up at Kyoto in 1997 and they
still may come back.  There is no precedent for an international agreement of such overriding
importance with such profound and detailed implications on which there has been a global consensus. 
Having achieved that I think we would be very cautious about casting it on one side, maybe that was
not what you were suggesting.  We clearly need to advance further but I did refer to an article which -
I forget the number - is about the adequacy of commitments.  The five per cent agreed at Kyoto is
merely the start.  We can expand the coverage of Kyoto and we can amend the Kyoto Protocol as long
as we get consensus.  I think the potential for developing it towards the ultimate target of stabilising CO2
in the atmosphere is quite consistent with the Kyoto Protocol.  Given the difficulty of getting agreement
with the umbrella group, who have never been very keen, the G77, who are probably still more
concerned about growth than they are about world climate, Saudi Arabia and OPEC, who have their
own very powerful vested interest, Sub-Saharan Africa which is desperate to get more done in terms
of poverty, I mean the disparate interests are so great that if we have got a consensus for that I think
we should stick with it and develop the existing mechanism. 
  82.  If I could move on to what is the more difficult issue, you have touched on it slightly, which is
the concept that if we are seeking to limit carbon emissions across the planet then you could have the
argument that every man, woman and child on the planet is allowed a certain amount of emissions and,
therefore, there are per capita emissions for each nation state and the extent to which the developed
world at the moment have emissions per head way above those in the developing world.  Now
obviously there is going to be an argument that the differences in terms of emissions between the
developed world and the developing world needs to narrow.
  (Mr Meacher) Yes.
  83.  And to what extent we could reach, if you like, an ideal stable situation where carbon emissions
in each nation state are the same on a per capita basis.  We are looking very much in the long term but
is that a concept which appeals to you as something to aim for, even if we never achieve it, or is it a
philosophical argument that you would prefer to ignore and not engage in?
  (Mr Meacher) I find it an appealing concept.  It is obviously absolutely profound in its implications. 
It is normally known under the title of Contraction and Convergence, in other words the developed
countries contract their emissions, which is what Kyoto is all about, and we get convergence with the
developing countries as they industrialise and increase their emissions.  So in a sense we are in that
process already.  The question of whether it should be pressed as a serious negotiable proposal has
been discussed.  I am one of those who share the view that whilst we are moving remorselessly and
inexorably in that direction, it is not practicable politics now.  If the most important thing in the process
is to get the United States back into the process, I think if we were to say that we are proposing that
within a certain timescale every citizen of the United States will have no more, on average, carbon
emissions permitted than in Bangladesh, I do not think that would be very appealing to them.  I do not
think it is immediately negotiable but I do think that its time is coming, it is a very powerful idea.  The
level of global emissions in 1990 was about five billion tonnes of carbon and that was consistent with
about 370 parts per million CO2  in the atmosphere.  If that doubles or trebles that level in the
atmosphere is going to rise remorselessly.  There is a view which is not scientifically precise that  if we
get over the 450-500 parts per million level we are in serious potential trouble.  Therefore to find a way
by which we can ensure we do not get above that level, in the pre-industrial age in the 18th century it
was about 280, so the question is is it safe for the world - where it has been at 280 for millennia - within
a very short period of time to double that and to go beyond it, bearing in mind that we continue to
accelerate at an unstoppable rate if we take no action.  It is not a cyclical matter where you go up and
at some point you start coming down, that is not the point, it can go on increasing indefinitely.  At what
point, therefore, do we try and limit the damage and the general view is 450-500 parts per million. 
Now if we are going to do that and the developing countries are going to industrialise, we are going to
have to make exceedingly sharp cuts, not just 60 per cent but in terms of the developed countries there
are arguments for 80 to 90 per cent cuts.  If we do that we are beginning to force down the level of per
capita emissions to something beginning to approach what convergence and contraction wants.  I do
not think it is pie in the sky, it is certainly not just a conceptual philosophy.  It is for real but it has to
organically develop and I do not think it can be enforced on the umbrella group at the present time.
  84.  On a related point.  The developing world themselves, most of the developing world as they
develop, will obviously increase carbon emissions.  Part of the protocol is to provide a mechanism
whereby resources are transferred from developed countries to developing countries to enable them
to become more energy efficient.  Do you think it is going to be more difficult to get the developing
countries to sign up to an agreement which could lead them to limit their own emissions if we have not
actually got the United States signed up on the developed side?   Do you see the United States being
crucial to getting long term commitment from the developing countries to the whole process?
  (Mr Meacher) The absence of the United States obviously inhibits the whole process, there is no
doubt about that.  I think the developing countries are far more concerned about the increased levels
of funding under whatever heading it might be than they are about whether the United States is part of
the process.  I perhaps could take this opportunity to make clear if I did not before that there is no
agreement yet on burden sharing aid to developing countries.  I did say in my earlier remarks that it is
a political declaration and the signatories of the political declaration will have their first discussions on
the formula in Washington in December as Sarah Hendry said.  The important thing is the amount of
this money.  I do think at each successive Conference of the  Parties the developing countries will
probably up their bid and we will just have to see what we can afford and the justification for more
money whilst they still are not signatories to the target.  The point is the Americans are very strongly
opposed to giving money unless countries sign up to the target.  The developing world will not sign up
to the target but is still insisting on money in order to give their consent at each annual meeting, that is
the problem.
  85.  I have one final question that is unrelated but I wanted to find a slot to put it in.  The Kyoto
Agreement did not say very much about what would happen for the transport system, particularly
aviation and sea transport, and certainly whereas fuel used in cars and on the roads is taxed, and heavily
taxed in some countries, it is not taxed in terms of aviation.  I recognise that the aviation industry is going
through a difficult period at the moment and no doubt there will be a reduction in emissions as a result
from aviation over the forthcoming period but do you think that the question of emissions from the
aviation industry in particular is something that needs to be examined?  Certainly I am aware that work
is taking place in terms of research working on more fuel efficient passenger aircraft and rather than
simply targeting fuel there may be scope internationally for actually putting in place mechanisms to bring
about more fuel efficient aircraft rather than seeking simply to reduce the total volume of aircraft
movements.  Is that something that you think needs to be looked at in the years ahead even if it is not
something of immediate importance?
  (Mr Meacher) The Kyoto Protocol has not given sufficient attention to the impact of aviation, I
think that is certainly true.  Carbon dioxide is something like two-thirds of greenhouse gases but there
are the other ones: nitrous oxides, methane and then the smaller ones, chlorofluorocarbon,
hydrofluorocarbons and sulphur hexachloride.  The nitrous oxides are the key ones with regard to
aircraft.  The latest figures I have seen suggest that as a proportion of all greenhouse gases the aviation
sector is responsible perhaps for three per cent at the present time but within the first commitment
period that could be expected to rise to five or six per cent.  These are all fairly uncertain estimates but
I am sure that is of a reasonable magnitude.  It is something that we do need to take seriously.  How
do you do that?  Either by a tax on aviation fuel on the ground that in order to get civil aviation off the
ground, literally, in the 1950s they were exempted from a tax on aviation fuel, but that might seem rather
odd today.  That is one way.  The European Union has been pressing the United States for
consideration of this issue through ICAO without much success, the Americans remain wholly opposed. 
Another way of proceeding, of course, would be by having some cap on aircraft emissions.  These have
been suggested.  I am not saying the UK Government is coming forward, let us be quite clear, this is
an idea that has been proposed, but one way or another we do need to look at ways of reducing the
contribution of the aviation sector, which is also increasing exponentially, that the number of passengers
is causing to the global environment in terms of CO2.  It is an important issue and it is unresolved.  I
would hope that once we have got COP-6 bedded down and COP-7, in COP-8 and COP-9 I think
it is one of the most important issues to look at.

                           David Taylor
  86.  A day or two ago, it being the tabling day for the Cabinet Office questions, I browsed the
Cabinet Office website to check what the responsibilities of the Deputy Prime Minister were and I
tabled a question linked, I thought unambiguously, to what it said there, which was that the Deputy
Prime Minister will continue to have a role in international climate change negotiations and discussions
on behalf of the Prime Minister.  I was therefore a bit disappointed to get that question bounced back
a day later saying it had gone on to DEFRA.  Who is in charge?  Who will be leading for the United
Kingdom in Marrakesh?  What is the rationale for a split responsibility between DEFRA and the DPM? 
Is there not the possibility that we will get some confusion and it will be fertile ground for recriminations
in the event of any difficulties arising from your discussions?
  (Mr Meacher) The responsibility for the climate change negotiations lies unquestionably and
unequivocally with the Secretary of State for DEFRA.  You have correctly described the role that the
Deputy Prime Minister is playing.  He does have, I think, an important role in international discussions
and negotiations.  When he was Secretary of State at DETR for the last four years he had contact with
a lot of world leaders.  He is a person who I think has a real close relationship with many of the key
players in this and he continues to meet them, at the request of the Prime Minister, to improve the
opportunities for the UK to exert world influence.  I think he performs that role very well.  I do not think
it is incompatible at all with the fact, as I say, that DEFRA and the Secretary of State are responsible
and in control of these negotiations.

                           Phil Sawford
  87.  A recurring theme in science fiction is that of a dead planet and one where life ended in a way
that was perhaps preventable.  As we march lemming-like towards that doomsday scenario there are
probably those who think it is futile to think that humankind can actually get to grips with this huge
problem.  On the optimistic side, assuming that we do, how would you like your contribution to be
  (Mr Meacher) First of all, I do not think that we are marching lemming-like towards ultimate
destruction.  I think we are the main cause of it, the anthropogenic generation of this problem is now
almost universally accepted, but if we are foolish enough to have caused this problem we are also
intelligent enough to know how it happened and to be able to reverse it.  There is no question that the
Kyoto process is central to the future of mankind on this planet, I think, and I would put it in those
terms.  Whether in the absence of adequate action being taken the human species will survive over the
next three to five hundred years I would say is a matter of doubt.  The role of all of us who are
privileged at this time to take part in this process is to try and increase awareness amongst all of our
peoples in our own respective countries to the nature of this problem, to the responsibility that all of us
without exception have, the need for a change in culture and in the running of our economy and, I think
in the way the UK has, in the time of the Deputy Prime Minister in the previous four years and now,
to play a lead role in these negotiations, not only in achieving the Kyoto process, where I think the UK
responsibility was crucial, but also continuing to play a lead part within the EU which is itself, I think,
the main player in the whole process.  That is a tremendous challenge which I think, and maybe I am
being immodest here, the UK has played extremely well and is determined to continue to do so.
  Chairman: You seem to be caught between Apocalypse Now and Professor Stephen Hawking who
says we have got to migrate to the stars in order to survive.  I think we might get back to something
slightly less apocalyptic, which brings us to Austin.

                           Mr Mitchell
  88.  Minister, if we migrate to the stars no doubt you will be responsible for it.  Sorry, given
ministerial responsibility for the process.  In terms of meeting Kyoto commitments we seem to be the
good guys but it has clearly got to be a European achievement, given the package, it will be a collective
commitment.  So how confident are you that the EU as a whole is going to be able to deliver on the
reductions necessary?  Please feel free to be as critical as you want of the EU in your answer.
  (Mr Meacher) I have mixed views about the EU without the absolute clarity of Austin Mitchell. 
I think the EU will deliver in this.  I have already earlier I think really answered this question.  I think
the bubble system, the allocation of responsibilities for each of the parties, the system for annual
monitoring and tracking, the fact that the Commission is being instructed to take action where necessary
to ensure that all countries meet the commitments that they have made, I do not see what more the EU
could actually do.  I do actually expect that we will deliver.  It is always good to be in a position where
you are over delivering yourself.  The fact the UK has a legally binding target of minus 12« per cent
compared with 1990, I think it is good to record that we are on track to a reduction in the six
greenhouse gases of around 23 per cent by 2010 and for carbon dioxide alone a figure not far short
of the 20 per cent which we made a domestic unilateral target in 1997.
  89.  Why did we stand with Spain in blocking the move to harmonise energy taxes?
  (Mr Meacher) Because the UK Government has taken a view that taxation, as all Members of the
Committee will be extremely well aware, is a matter for individual governments.  It is not a matter for
decisions at the EU level.  I am sure that Austin Mitchell would very much agree with that view.  Our
view, however, is that it does make sense to talk about common policies and measures with regard to
meeting the climate change targets and we do regularly have discussions within the Environmental
Council about how we can standardise the mechanisms between us by which we do that, partly
because it achieves, of course, a level playing field economically.
  90.  So we will, will we, be supportive of the emerging European Climate Change Programme?
  (Mr Meacher) That sounds to me like a slightly loaded question and I am trying to think what lies
behind it.  I think we are, yes.
  Mr Mitchell: Will we be supportive of it and will we go on to enact any necessary legislation
internally which arises from it?

  91.  Competence.
  (Mr Meacher) We are, of course, a partner in the preparation of that programme.  We would not
agree, of course, to a programme where there were significant items which we did not agree with.  For
that reason I would expect that we would be behind it but in terms of taxation measures, that remains
again a matter for the UK.  The fact that we are not just achieving our target but on track to achieve
almost twice as good a result is a reason I think why we should be content with our position.  We will
take the decisions on the basis of subsidiarity and we will deliver fully on our commitments.

                           Mr Mitchell
  92.  Given the fact that half the Member States have some form of energy or carbon tax, are we
going to be more co-operative in supporting the Community proposals for the harmonisation of
minimum duties on energy products?
  (Mr Meacher) Again, the same answer applies.  Successive governments, including the one before
the present one, have taken a very firm view that taxations and duties, including on energy products,
is a matter for the UK Government.  We have no intention of changing that but we are co-operative
and supportive of the general effort.  We have, of course, a Climate Change Levy, which is about
improving energy efficiency in industry.  We are just about to put in place next year an energy efficiency
commitment in regard to households whereby energy suppliers have to provide gas or electricity on a
more fuel efficient basis and there are a number of other drivers, not least the Home Energy Efficiency
Scheme, whereby we are trying to achieve the agreed targets.  What we do not accept is a taxation
measure should be taken by Brussels.  
  Mr Mitchell: Delighted to hear it.

                             Mr Jack
  93.  Who is going to be responsible for monitoring if the Climate Change Levy is actually
  (Mr Meacher) There will certainly be reports on its success.  We will be looking on a sectoral basis
for reporting by industry about its impact.  We would certainly hope that companies would be extending
their environmental reporting.  I am constantly asking that there should be environmental reporting by
all major companies on key issues, of which energy efficiency is one.  I would expect them in their
annual reports to talk about the efforts that they have made to meet the target, no doubt they will make
their own comment about the effect it has had on them.  We will try to draw that together on a
systematic basis.
  94.  That is very lordly in terms of what it wants to do.  Are you saying that there is actually nobody
responsible, if you like, for producing an annual UK report of target versus achievement for the CCL
across all the areas where it applies?
  (Mr Meacher) No, I am not saying that.  We are keeping very careful track of performance in
every sector and certainly in the industrial sector, of course, the impact of CCL is absolutely crucial. 
I am just trying to think.  I am quite sure we will be looking for an annual estimate of the  impact of
CCL which, of course, will also be published.
  95.  If I said to you bearing in mind next April is the first anniversary of it, what would you expect
to achieve by that?
  (Mr Meacher) The putting in place of the negotiated agreements under CCL whereby the main
intensive energy users are able to negotiate agreements to get an 80 per cent reduction in the impact
of the levy but only on the basis of improved energy efficiency plans which are acceptable to my
Department.  There are, as I say, in excess of 40 sectoral agreements which have now been agreed and
we will be looking, of course, for those to be rolled out on the basis of the fine detail of these
agreements.  They are very detailed and technical agreements.  
  96.  Would you have preferred to have an agreement based approach to this whole matter rather
than having to have a tax?  Because it does seem to me, just looking a little wider, we have now got
an aggregates tax, we have got the Climate Change Levy, whereas perhaps what we should be doing
is a bit more carrots and less stick?
  (Mr Meacher) The question is whether we could have on a carrots or voluntary basis achieved the
level of reduction in carbon use by industry through those means.  I would beg leave to doubt it.  It has
always been in industry's interest to do this, they have not done so.  Energy efficiency is a sufficiently
small part of their total cost that it does not feature, I fear, on the radar screen of many chief officers
of companies.  We do need to do something which requires them to take action.  At the same time,
when you say it is a tax, of course it is a tax.  You called it a levy, it is a tax but it is not a tax which is
designed to increase revenues to the Exchequer.  It is a tax which is designed to change behaviour.  It
is being recycled back to business in the form of reduced employer national insurance contributions. 
I accept that varies between sectors and it varies between companies so it is the case that some
companies are only going to get back a small part of the outlay that they make.  That simply shows
there is a lot of room for improved energy efficiency.
  97.  Do you want it to remain fiscally neutral as a tax for the lifetime of the Levy?
  (Mr Meacher) Yes.
  98.  Can I just ask you one other question about the strategy in the UK.  This line of questioning
illustrates that we are well on track to meet our targets.  I asked a question some time ago about the
impact on our ability to meet those targets of the reduction in magnox power stations and was told that
had been factored in.  What I had not realised was that during this period it is likely that we will see the
shut down of some of the advanced gas cooled reactors.  How does that affect our ability to meet our
targets in the future?
  (Mr Meacher) The magnox reactors, of which I think there are nine or ten remaining, ----
  99.  Ten.
  (Mr Meacher) ---- are expected to close down by about 2012 and that certainly has been factored
into the equation.  The number of advanced gas cooled reactors is far fewer, I cannot immediately recall
the number.
  100.  About five or six.
  (Mr Meacher) And within the first commitment period, 2008-12, I would be surprised if it is
expected that more than one or two of those might close down.  Again, if that is the recognised life
expectancy of that particular reactor that also will have been factored in.

                           Patrick Hall
  101.  Minister, why did you authorise the mixed oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield?
  (Mr Meacher) There has been enormous discussion about this over a period of four or five years. 
There have been four, if not five, consultations.  The two latest ones - the first one was done by PA
Consulting, the second by AD Little - both came to the conclusion that there was a net present value
which was positive to the level of around œ200 million over the lifetime of the plant.  It is of course
recognised, and the opponents of this have made very clear, that it is dependent on the premise most
notably about the likelihood of Japanese markets reviving and the MOX being sold at a price which
would make the plant viable.  These two consultations came to a clear figure.  The Government, of
course, took the advice also of the Environment Agency.  We also listened to the consultees to those
consultancy processes.  Having taken account of all that evidence the Secretary of State for DEFRA
and the Secretary of State for Health came to the judgment that on balance it was justified.
  102.  That is a controversial decision.  The economists do seem very dubious, do they not?  I take
what you said about the consultants' reports but there is a credibility factor here, whatever the
consultants' reports say, at this point in time.  There have been the dubious management practices we
had reports of a couple of years ago with regard to the falsification of data.  We have got the
international situation now, the risk of terrorist activity which would not have been taken into account
in the consultants' reports and also is not the economic viability of MOX reprocessing fundamentally
flawed by its dependency on taxpayer subsidy to write off the capital costs?  Could I ask you to
comment on that write off of capital costs?  It is a big question but could you also comment on the
terrorist risk assessment?  You took the decision very shortly after 11 September.  Why, in the light
of all of those factors, do you still believe that on balance there is a strong business case?
  (Mr Meacher) Chairman, I always try to be helpful to the Committee but, as Members will know,
this is now subject to judicial review by two of the NGOs, by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. 
This matter is going to come to court I presume.  I fear I am inhibited in going into detail about the case. 
We have set out the ministerial decision which is over 70 or 80 paragraphs, if I remember.  It is in detail
there.  I am tempted to answer more directly the questions that Patrick Hall has raised but I think it
would be unwise for me to do that when this is now sub judice.
  Patrick Hall: I thought you might comment, Chairman.
  Chairman: When the Minister says there is a sub judice issue, there is a sub judice issue.
  103.  Indeed, there is, but that does not mean we cannot explore the issues at all and I am trying
to explore what you are able to respond on.  There are significant areas that you are not able to
comment on at this point but perhaps, Chairman, we will be able to have that opportunity in the future. 
Could I probe a bit more and see whether you are able to assist at this point in time.  Leaving aside the
economics then, which is rather an important area, and the terrorist target issue, which I am surprised
to hear is part of the judicial review.
  (Mr Meacher) It is not.
  104.  It is not.
  (Mr Meacher) The two items in the judicial review are, firstly, the fact that the capital cost is
regarded as a sunk cost and, secondly, the question of economics, to which you did refer.
  105.  Okay.  Perhaps you would comment a little on the new very worrying situation which has to
be borne in mind with regard to the possibility of adding to terrorist targets as a result of that decision. 
Could you comment on that?  I do want to raise a couple of other points as well if the Minister is able
to answer that.
  (Mr Meacher) All I can say is, of course, that the plant was built, it was built under the previous
administration in 1995.  It is there, it is not a question of whether it should now be built, and it is one
of the very many nuclear installations at Sellafield and of course the potential terrorist threat applies to
all of those buildings.  It is being looked at very, very thoroughly and urgently by the Office of Civil
Nuclear Security.  Obviously in the light of their reports to Government we will hold open the possibility
of taking whatever necessary action needs to be taken.
  106.  On the Environmental Impact Assessment, that is doubtless part of your decision to authorise
reprocessing.  I think I did not word my question accurately right at the beginning, I think I implied you
authorised the plant to be built, it is the reprocessing.  What are the principal environmental risks
associated with reprocessing there?
  (Mr Meacher) This question is going a lot wider.  The reprocessing plant, THORP, the Thermal
Oxide Reprocessing Plant, of course predates the SMP, the Sellafield MOX plant, because the MOX
plant is simply a consequential of having a process in reprocessing of separating plutonium and uranium
from waste.  What the MOX plant does is to bring together the separated plutonium and uranium in the
form of a mixed oxide fuel which might be used for a further round of fuelling reactors either in the UK
or around the world.  That is the purpose of it.  
  107.  I accept that.  I understood that before.  Are you saying there are not environmental issues
attached to the bringing together of those products of the THORP plant in the MOX process?
  (Mr Meacher) The liquid discharges from the MOX plant are very tiny indeed.  With regard to the
generation of further intermediate level waste, the best calculation that is over the projected operational
lifetime of the SMP, it might generate about one per cent of total intermediate level waste generated at
  108.  Has there been any assessment of the potential effects of that on the local marine
  (Mr Meacher) That is a question about the liquid discharges?
  109.  Yes.
  (Mr Meacher) What is discharged to the Irish Sea.  As I am saying, the level of those discharges
is very tiny indeed.  Reprocessing is another matter.  The SMP plant is a consequential of reprocessing
and as such it contributes very little indeed to liquid discharges.  It contributes a small but not
insignificant amount in terms of waste.
  110.  Finally, Minister, do you see your position with regard to MOX reprocessing as part of a
renewed commitment, or long term commitment, by this Government to civil nuclear power?  I know
that the question was raised earlier by Michael Jack about the future of magnox and gas cooled, but
is your decision, looking at it in the bigger and wider picture, looking ahead, an indication of perhaps
some renewal of longer term interest?
  (Mr Meacher) First of all, we have not made a decision about reprocessing.  This is a decision
about the MOX plant, not about reprocessing.  As regards the wider question of a further future for
the nuclear industry in terms of new nuclear build, which I notice has been mentioned in the press
recently, the whole issue is being examined by the PIU Report on energy which of course includes
nuclear and which is designed to look not just at energy policy, based as it has been for a couple of
decades, on pricing and on markets, but also to look at environmental impact and security of supply. 
That report I would expect to be published by the end of the year.

                            Mr Lepper
  111.  Less controversial matters perhaps.  I want to return to an issue I raised earlier about
departmental responsibilities.  I think many of us felt back in 1997 when the Department for the
Environment, Transport and the Regions was set up that it was sending out an important signal about
an attitude to the environment and the integration of policy making, particularly in relation to transport
and the environment.  As recently as last year the Green Ministers' Annual Report made exactly the
same kind of comment about that department.  Do you feel that the split now between environment with
DEFRA and transport with the Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions is hindering
that integration of policy making?
  (Mr Meacher) I hope it is not.  I am well aware that there are two views on this question and we
must, in practice, justify our view.  Of course I am aware that the relationships which had built up
between the environment and transport divisions within DETR are very important.  There is also the
relationship, again within that same department, between environment and planning and urban
regeneration, which is also very important.  Therefore, it could be argued that separating environment
from that overall department and putting it in a separate department is a detriment.  I would argue
against that on the grounds that probably the area where sustainability has so far had least impact is
farming and the agricultural system, partly driven by the need for reform of CAP, partly driven by the
exceedingly tragic succession of BSE, classical Swine Fever and now Foot and Mouth, and the public
perceptions arising out of that, there is clearly very strong demand for change.  There is also within the
CAP the need for a much bigger shift to the Second Pillar to the rural development regulation, agri-
environment, land management, development of tourism, etc.  Possibly also with the arrival of Renate
Knast, she has been there some time now in Germany, the beginnings of a change in the centre of
gravity in agricultural politics in the EU perhaps.  This is an opportunity for major change in this area. 
This is a fulcrum swing time.  It is right, I think, that we have a department that is wholly targeted on
making those changes.  That is the rationale for the new department.  We do not want to lose the
benefits of what was there before.  I have tried to retain those by establishing a detailed concordat with
DTLR, with the transport division within DTLR, which is based on early exchange of information and
proposals at an early stage of decision making, discussions between officials and raising the matter at
ministerial level for discussion before matters are put into the public domain. So we are trying to retain
close liaison between us and Transport and the same goes, as I said, for planning, the planning division
within DTLR.  Now it is easy for me to say, the question is how it works and we are going to be held
to account on that and we should be but that is the intention. Can I make one further point?  If, of
course, every Department that Environment should be mainstreamed into was part of the Environment
Department we would have half of Whitehall.  No-one suggests that the DTI should be with us or we
should be with DTI but it is very important that we integrate and mainstream environmental concepts
in DTI policy making.  It has never been a suggestion that we should be in the same Department.  Well,
we are now in that same relationship with DTLR and we have got to make it work.
  112.  I was not trying to encourage departmental imperialism on your part, Michael, at all.  I take
the point you make, it remains to be seen if it works, as you seem to be suggesting.  The annual report
of the Green Ministers, which I think has appeared since 1997-98, that will continue to appear
  (Mr Meacher) Yes.
  113.  Therefore we will have some basis for assessing the success of the new arrangement?
  (Mr Meacher) We will indeed.  Green Ministers, which I chair, and which has now been upgraded
to a sub-committee of the Cabinet ENV Committee looks at three things.  Firstly,  is what is sometimes
rather rudely called housekeeping in Whitehall, which is how well the departmental estate in each case
does in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, consumption of water, energy efficiency, management of
waste, etc.  Secondly, whether environmental concerns are properly taken into account in policy
making, and that is obviously a potentially far bigger issue.  It is more intangible but much more
important.  Thirdly, to expand awareness of sustainable development throughout Whitehall.  We will
continue to provide annual reports. I will have the most detailed table setting out in quantified form the
progress we are making on the first of those, I cannot do that on the second or third because there are
not the measures.  I am very keen to be as transparent and open as possible about the progress we are
making in Whitehall and that will certainly include how far environmental concerns are reflected in

                             Mr Todd
  114.  The British Civil Service does not have a good reputation for working together across
departments and this reshuffle has certainly perhaps slightly extended the need to do that.  You
mentioned the use of concordats.  Are there specific projects, as were announced I remember  in the
various spending reviews, specific cross-departmental projects, which will be initiatives led by your
Ministry and which will seek to build co-working?
  (Mr Meacher) Rapidly trying to think.  There probably are.  Nothing is coming to my mind. It is
not so much cross-departmental projects as what I call environmental mainstreaming, namely that in the
preparation of the MoD estate strategy, in the DTI sustainable development strategy, the environmental
component is very clear and strong.  That is really what I am trying to achieve. There probably are, as
I say, cross-departmental projects.  I suppose you could say road building is a cross-departmental
  115.  The mainstream you talk about often produces in my view a tokenism of just putting in a quick
paragraph saying "Yes, we have examined the environmental implications of this and they are this" and
move on to the core subject we are interested in.  The evidence of this Government to date has
certainly been that only when people are forced together to achieve certain clear goals does joined up
Government actually happen.
  (Mr Meacher) That is probably right.
  116.  That is why I am encouraging you to consider the possibility of some joint projects which are
there to achieve particular goals.
  (Mr Meacher) Well, if they are joint projects which are organic to the development of policy, fine. 
I do not think we want joint projects for the sake of it, just to show we are joined up.  I very much
agree with you that tokensim is very easy and there is a measure of it and that it is useless.  It has to be
internally felt, it has to be internally developed, there has to be a real commitment.  My problem as
Chair of Green Ministers is how do you get colleagues actually to take this on board.  I think many of
them have.  I think we have made some quite considerable progress since 1997 but I absolutely agree
that it is very far from ideal and there are clear gaps and deficiencies.  Indeed, if I may say, your role
is very important here.  I do not want to drop my colleagues in it but I do think that it would be helpful,
not only if you interviewed me - it is such a pleasurable experience - but if you also interviewed some
of my colleagues to talk about these matters.  I try and put pressure on them and I think you have
probably an even better opportunity to make sure they agree and actually carry through the
commitments that we all share.

  117.  We have happy memories, Minister, of when you shared the podium with a Treasury Minister
on the levy to deal with intensive agriculture, I think.  There was a figure you were going to give us at
some stage before you leave, Minister, that you sent out for.
  (Mr Meacher) This is not the question that was asked.  The question that was asked ----

                             Mr Todd
  118.  What was the UK contribution?
  (Mr Meacher) Sorry.  I think the note that was handed to me makes a general comment but I have
already used it.   What it is saying is that the burden sharing aid to developing countries is in the form
of a political declaration.  The details of that and how it would work will be discussed, including the
formula, in Washington in December, so there is not at this stage a ----
  119.  Developing countries cannot spend political declaration.
  (Mr Meacher) No, they spend the money which a political declaration is about.  What this meeting
is about is deciding what the formula is, how it will be allocated and on what it will be spent.

                             Mr Drew
  120.  I am going to be giving evidence to the Gloucestershire Waste Plan Inquiry in a few weeks'
time.  What do you think I can say about the Government's attitude towards incineration?
  (Mr Meacher) That you wholeheartedly agreed with it.
  121.  If you tell me what it is and I will have to make my mind up.
  (Mr Meacher) I will very gladly tell you.  The problem for this country in terms of waste is a very
big one.  At the moment we landfill between 80 and 85 per cent of household waste which is far and
away the highest of any other EU Member State.  We are required, even if it was not a good
environmental idea, which it is, to shift away from landfill by the EU Landfill Directive to the point where
by 2020 we landfill no more than 35 per cent of the 1995 level in this country.  That is a colossal shift
of millions of tonnes a year away from landfill to some other form of disposal.  There are only three
other alternatives.  One is reuse, recovery and recycling, which is at the heart of the Government's
strategy.  The second is incineration.  The third, although it gets very little attention, is probably the most
important of all and it is waste minimisation, it is not generating the waste in the first place.  One of the
requirements which I am trying to firm up is how I can get either incentives or regulatory pressures in
place to ensure that waste is minimised.  You asked about incineration.  Our aim is to maximise
recycling, subject to waste minimisation.  We have imposed a statutory target on all local authorities,
a doubling of the level of recycling within the next three years, by 2003-04 and a trebling within five
years, by 2005-06 of current levels.  The average level, which we inherited in 1997, was about eight
per cent, it is now 10-11 per cent.  We aim to get 17 per cent by 2003-04 and around 25 per cent by
2005-06.  Now, in the great majority of cases my view is that can be done without an incineration plant,
however it would be wrong to suggest that all of the shift from landfill can be achieved without any
increase in incineration.  There are good reasons locally, for example the need for disposal of significant
amounts of clinical waste, which do justify, perhaps, an incineration plant.  Our view is so long as,
firstly, it does not preempt recycling and so long as the recycling alternative has been fully explored, that
is the first condition, secondly, that it should be small scale and, thirdly, that wherever possible it should
be combined with local CHP, we would be prepared to consider that.  That is the way in which it is
regarded.  Now may I just say, because the public view about incineration is now becoming very
intense, that three of the greenest countries in Europe, which are Switzerland, Denmark and the
Netherlands, have high levels of incineration as well as having high levels of recycling.  It is not the case
that incinerators are anti-green, there is a health issue.  Let me make clear here that the Incineration
Directive, which came into force, I think, in October or November 1996 has hugely improved and
tightened the regulation of incinerators.  The thing that most people fear is dioxins and dioxins are highly
toxic.  The level of dioxins which was laid down in 1996 is that they should form no more than one
nanogram per cubic metre, that is one part in a billion, of what is expelled from the stack.  That is
actually being increased ten fold in the current Waste Incineration Directive so that  by 2005 I think it
is, it will be no more than 0.1 nanogram per cubic metre.  It is very tightly controlled.  Can I make just
two other quick points.  One is that the assumption is that dioxins come largely from incinerators, about
four per cent of all industrial UK dioxin emissions to air come from incinerators, 56 per cent come from
iron and steel and metal processing, 20 per cent from non ferrous metal industries and 15 per cent from
coal fired power generation.  Now that is not to be complacent about incinerators, I am not
complacent.  I have indicated that we want no more incinerators than are strictly necessary, and they
have to get planning permission, but I think one can exaggerate the antipathy to incinerators and they
are now hugely more regulated. In 1995 municipal waste incinerators generated 413 grams of dioxins,
the latest figure available to me in this year is 1.3.
  122.  A quick supplementary, Michael.  I read the answers in Hansard about what has been
happening in Essex.  Now clearly that will have an important relationship to subsequent waste planning
inquiries.  What is your understanding of the Essex situation at the moment where, unless I have read
it wrongly, the authority is trying to remove incineration as one of their ways by which they will get rid
of waste and they are not being allowed to do that? 
  (Mr Meacher) Again, Chairman, I fear this is an area which could - I will not say will - ultimately
end up with the Secretary of State and I cannot prejudice that position by commenting on a particular
case.  I recognise the point that is being made and how serious it is.
  David Taylor: Can I urge the Minister to give proper incentives to local authorities in relation to any
recycling targets that are set because they are not being believed at the moment.  In my own authority
very close to the Derbyshire border, Mark Todd's seat, a recent, highly undesirable application was
granted mainly I think on the grounds that the recycling targets that the Government have spelt out are
just not believed by the planning authorities and the New Albion Site is ----
  Mr Todd: This is for landfill.

                           David Taylor
  123.  This is for landfill.  We are looking at nearly a generation of communities along the
Leicestershire/Derbyshire border affected largely because the recycling targets spelt out are not
believed, not adequately resourced and I do not think are sufficiently coherent.
  (Mr Meacher) I hope they are believed because they are statutory targets and we have the
sanctions to ensure delivery and we will certainly exercise them.  Secondly, they are resourced.  We
have increased the RSG for what is delicately called Environment and Cultural Services, which is a very
odd combination in the RSG headings, but that is what it is called, to 1.127 billion by the end of the
current three year period, which is a very substantial increase.  In addition to that we have made
available œ140 million which is ring-fenced for waste management whereas, of course, the RSG is a
matter for local authorities under our devolution proposals so that they decide how that money is used. 
To say that it is not resourced is wrong.  In addition, there is œ50 million going to community recycling
networks, which often assist local authorities.  There is a further œ220 million available for PFI contracts
for waste purposes.  Lastly, we have set up the Waste Resources Action Programme which is designed
to help local authorities find markets for recyclettes and we have funded that with œ40 million.  It is not
the case that it is not resourced, they are clearly statutory targets and I believe that they are coherent. 
To say that they are not implies that we cannot do what other countries in the rest of Europe have been
doing for a long time.
  124.  Is your Department monitoring local waste management?
  (Mr Meacher) It is.
  125.  Does it report back to Parliament on its findings?
  (Mr Meacher) We will.  We have already started this.
  126.  When?
  (Mr Meacher) On an annual basis I will be looking for details of recycling levels as well as waste
minimisation action taken, comparing that with the base line figures for last year, publishing that in
Parliament and I hope that you, as well as I, will be on to the laggards and insisting that they are not
taking sufficient action.  We will provide them with the managerial expertise, we have provided them
with the resources.  If they fail, as we have done in the case of education, then we will put in a waste
management authority which actually can deliver.

                           Mr Mitchell
  127.  We have a local incinerator row in North East Lincolnshire and the Environment, Transport
and Regional Affairs Committee's Report has been cited as part of that row.  Do I take it from what
you have said about subject to the Directive and the subsequent reduction in dioxin emissions that
where recycling is not feasible you will say unequivocally that a small modern incinerator installed under
that Directive's requirements is safe?
  (Mr Meacher) You can never say that any combustion process is safe.  I would not be prepared
to say that.
  128.  Would you say there is no danger to the locals from dioxin emissions?
  (Mr Meacher) I would say that the risks to the local population have been dramatically and hugely
reduced as a result of the 1996 Directive which forced the closure of many incinerators in this country. 
I think there are only about 11 operating at the present time.  Any new incinerators built will be subject
to the most modern standards where the risk to the local population is judged to be absolutely minimal. 
It has to pass, of course a planning inquiry.  All of the details about discharges would come out in that
inquiry and judgments will be made on the environmental and health impacts, and that is a major
consideration.  It may well be, and indeed the industry fears, that those planning inquiries are going to
be very stringent and that public consent, which at the moment in many cases is not forthcoming, will
be demonstrated at those inquiries.  It is for them to make the case.  Government is allowing
incinerators to be put forward as part of Local Authority Waste Management Plans subject to the rules
that we have set down within our Waste Management Strategy.
  129.  If there is a problem, as there is in North East Lincolnshire, with less and less room for landfill,
in fact hardly any now, if you are checking that recycling is not feasible, why does the Government not
come out and say "We are encouraging incinerators" in those circumstances?
  (Mr Meacher) Because it is not the role for a Government to encourage or discourage.
  130.  It is not a role for Government to let local authorities twist in the wind.
  (Mr Meacher) They are not twisting in the wind.  They can take their decisions.  The Government's
Waste Management Strategy is totally compatible with the local authority or the industry coming
forward with an energy from waste or incineration plant, that is perfectly compatible.  It has to meet the
criteria that we have laid down, that can certainly be done, and it then has to pass a planning inquiry if
one takes place.  On that basis I would expect that there will be some increase in incineration over the
next few years in this country.
  Chairman: Minister, you have done the best part of three hours, it has been a long stint, you have
earned some credits.  You have answered very fully and it has been an extremely long session.  We are
very grateful to you, thank you very much indeed, and we look forward to seeing you again.