The Committee, having considered various aspects
of the economics of climate change, calls on the Government to
give HM Treasury a more extensive role, both in examining the
costs and benefits of climate change policy and presenting them
to the United Kingdom public, and in the work of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
We have some concerns about the objectivity of the
IPCC process, with some of its emissions scenarios and summary
documentation apparently influenced by political considerations.
There are significant doubts about some aspects of
the IPCC's emissions scenario exercise, in particular, the high
emissions scenarios. The Government should press the IPCC to change
There are some positive aspects to global warming
and these appear to have been played down in the IPCC reports;
the Government should press the IPCC to reflect in a more balanced
way the costs and benefits of climate change.
The Government should press the IPCC for better estimates
of the monetary costs of global warming damage and for explicit
monetary comparisons between the costs of measures to control
warming and their benefits.
Since warming will continue, regardless of action
now, due to the lengthy time lags in climate systems, and since
there is a risk that international negotiations will not secure
large-scale and effective mitigation action, a more balanced approach
to the relative merits of adaptation and mitigation is needed,
with far more attention paid to adaptation measures.
We are concerned that UK energy and climate policy
appears to be based on dubious assumptions about the roles of
renewable energy and energy efficiency and that the costs to the
UK of achieving its objectives have been poorly documented. We
look to the Government, with much stronger Treasury involvement,
to review and substantiate the cost estimates and to convey them
in transparent form to the public.
We think that current nuclear power capacity, before
further decommissioning occurs, should be retained.
We urge the Government to replace the present Climate
Change Levy with a carbon tax as soon as possible.
We are concerned that the international negotiations
on climate change reduction will be ineffective because of the
preoccupation with setting emissions targets. The Kyoto Protocol
makes little difference to rates of warming, and has a naïve
compliance mechanism which can only deter countries from signing
up to subsequent tighter emissions targets. We urge the Government
to take a lead in exploring alternative "architectures"
for future Protocols, based perhaps on agreements on technology
and its diffusion.