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Lord Rooker: My Lords, I do not know whether this is a free vote subject, but I tend to agree with the noble Viscount. I was pleased to discover, after answering

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a Question in a similar vein yesterday, that there will indeed be a debate on daylight saving during the proceedings of the Climate Change Bill. However, we do not have to go back and invent the wheel; we can do many things, such as switching things off, which save money and energy at the same time—those are common-sense actions.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, following the part of the Question of the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, that the Minister did not answer, what estimate has been made of the savings that may be achieved by the wider introduction of microgeneration—for instance, along the lines recently proposed by my right honourable friend David Cameron?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I do not know. I would need advance notice of such a complex question to get a detailed answer. I will write to the noble Lord.

Lord Teverson: My Lords, it is estimated that 7 million houses in the current housing stock have cavity walls without insulation. What are the Government going to do to solve that problem and ensure that the energy savings through that insulation are made on the current housing stock?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, we have just launched the Energy Saving Trust scheme announced by the Prime Minister, which is a £100 million exercise to get increased performance in households. That will cover advice, and cavity wall insulation is clearly part of that process. In a way, the housing stock is the biggest single problem. We can deal with new houses, because we build so few, but we have a 20 million-plus housing stock. We also have a lot of school stock, and later today in the Statement it will be announced that, from 2016, all new schools will be zero carbon.

Lord Brookman: My Lords, as someone who believes in Father Christmas, are the Government going to take any measures to stop excessive street lighting over the Christmas period? I hope not, myself.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, we are not the Government who are going to spoil Christmas for all the children in this country.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, good housekeeping begins at home—and by that I mean Whitehall, as far as the Minister is concerned. What is the situation across Whitehall and does Defra have a strategy for energy saving within the department? If so, is the Minister prepared to put it in the public domain as an exemplar to others?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I can only partly repeat what I said yesterday; I regret that in the mean time, I have not had a chance to get further information. Defra had the lowest energy performance consumption and CO2 emissions per square metre of surface area used by civil departments during 2005-06, other than the Forestry Commission. So our house is in order.

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Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: My Lords, without wishing to spoil anybody's Christmas, would it not help if Christmas lights were not switched on until the middle of December?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, the fact is that, if during the festive season, which must still remain festive, we switched everything off that does not need to be on, we could save 660,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which would save £17 million in energy costs.

Lord Hughes of Woodside: My Lords, will the Minister please look forward with regard to energy saving, not backwards to the rather stupid days of World War II, when an edict was issued by the Government that you should not have more than six inches of water in your bath? Where are we going?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, we are not going back to the three-day week, when the lights went off at 10 o'clock and we were told to bath in the dark or brush our teeth in the dark, as witness has been given by one noble Lord present here today.

Lord Blaker: My Lords, to how many employees in Defra does the low-energy performance apply?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, the energy consumption was for surface area used by people. I do not have the figures, but I am quite happy to provide them. It was measured by the buildings that we are using.

Lord Vinson: My Lords, although it is useful to save energy, we are not going to save the world by economising. Would it not be better to get on and build a new nuclear power station that really would give us baseload CO2-free energy and masses of it?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, the Prime Minister gave the lead on that in his speech recently.

Iran: Nuclear Programme

2.59 pm

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My Lords, I am told that it is not the practice of this Government or previous Governments to comment on intelligence matters. However, nothing in the NIE changes the fundamental problem that we face, which is Iran’s pursuit of a uranium enrichment programme that has, so far as we can see, no civilian application. That is despite the unanimous demand from the UN Security Council and from the IAEA that it should stop doing so. Accordingly, we will continue to act in the UN, in the EU and bilaterally to persuade Iran to change its approach and comply with its international responsibilities.

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Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, none of us underestimates the potential threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. On the other hand, the National Intelligence Estimate seems to all of us to change the context in which we are negotiating with Iran, particularly since it confirms that in 2003 the then Iranian Government made a generous offer to negotiate directly with the United States, which the Bush Administration turned down. Should we not now be pursuing direct talks with the Iranians and pulling the Americans into those talks, which must include security guarantees and greater economic co-operation, particularly as we need Iranian co-operation in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Lord is correct that the NIE assessment has led to a lot of debate. I remind him that, for us, the two essential elements are that a programme of uranium enhancement continues, for which we can see no civilian purpose and that, secondly, this involves a Government who are rightly heavily distrusted by ourselves and others. Our position to the Iranians is clear: allow an arrangement that does not say, in the famous words of President Reagan, “Trust but verify”, but which says, “Verify so that we can trust”. If those conditions are met, negotiations on all outstanding matters involving Iran, with the United States among others, are very much on the cards.

Lord Campbell-Savours: My Lords, my noble friend has not commented on what is actually in the assessment with which we disagree. Could he do so?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, my noble friend heard me say in my opening reply that I am told that it is not appropriate for the Government or their predecessors to comment either on our own or other countries’ intelligence assessments.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, will the Minister consider the sharp differences between the 2003 and the 2007 National Intelligence Estimates of the United States’ intelligence agencies? There is a clear distinction between what in 2003 was thought to be the almost certain movement of Iran towards enrichment ending in a nuclear weapons programme, and the most recent estimate, which says with high confidence that, at least up until the publication of the estimate, there is no evidence of a weapons system being developed. Given that, will the Minister consider—because this is crucial to world peace—whether it might be appropriate for the Iranians to change to the agenda of the Baghdad talks, which he knows are going on and at which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that any issues that any member of those talks wishes to raise could be raised? Would it not therefore be wise to permit those talks to extend to regional security, which is at the heart of Iran’s profound concerns about the danger of being attacked?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Baroness is aware that the 2007 report concludes that there is a high likelihood that the programme has been suspended but not ended. An enrichment programme continues,

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so the ability of the Iranians to resume a weapons programme quickly remains a real risk. Secondly, and more generally on the Baghdad talks, the United States has said that the opportunities for Iraq and Iran to discuss their border and security issues, for the United States to participate through the Baghdad talks and for a broader regional set of actors to participate in different UN forums are all possibilities. I remind her that the United States has also been clear that general talks between the US and Iran on overall global issues between them must await a solution to this enrichment issue.

Lord Butler of Brockwell: My Lords, how does the Minister square his statement that it is not the custom of this Government or previous Governments to comment on intelligence with the decision of the previous Government to publish a dossier of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq leading up to the war and the statement of the previous Prime Minister that he now wishes he had published the whole JIC assessment?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, this novice Minister was very much hoping that that particular noble Lord would not be in the House today. He will notice that I referred to the fact that I had been told that this was the practice. As someone who was out of the country at the time, I must say I scratch my head to reconcile this with the practice when the noble Lord was involved in these issues. I think that it is at least true to say that to comment on a close ally’s intelligence assessment publicly is probably not prudent.

Lord Judd: My Lords, whatever the challenges—

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, I think that we are all extremely grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Brockwell, for guiding us in this matter and for reminding us that these have been, with circumspection, matters for considerable and detailed public debate. The NIE assessment has been in every newspaper and has had a major influence on opinion here, in the rest of Europe and in Tehran. What, in the Minister’s evaluation, is the NIE report saying? What stopped in 2003? Was it weaponisation—the possibility of moving from enrichment, which continues, to weapons grade uranium and weapons manufacture? Were missiles stopped? Or should we regard this with the same value as we regard other intelligence reports that told us that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, we believe that the programme was suspended, not ended, and that, with enrichment continuing, the ability to resume a programme quickly remains open to the Iranians. On the value of the assessment, the noble Lord rightly points out that assessments change over time. I do not think that the authors of this assessment would consider it to be the last word on the subject.

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3.07 pm

Lord Grocott: My Lords, with permission, we will have a Statement repeated this afternoon at a convenient time after 3.30 pm, which almost certainly will be after the first group of amendments. It will be on the children’s plan and will be repeated by my noble friend Lord Adonis.

Business of the House: Standing Order 47

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, that Standing Order 47 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with to allow the Consolidated Fund Bill to be taken through all its remaining stages on Wednesday 12 December.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Climate Change Bill [HL]

3.08 pm

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD SPEAKER in the Chair.]

Lord Teverson moved Amendment No. 1:

The noble Lord said: The Climate Change Bill is the most important Bill in this Session of Parliament. It raises large issues on carbon reductions well into this century and a number of global issues, all of which have been subject to a great deal of discussion and debate, not just in the United Kingdom and Europe, but in the global community. However, a key area not covered by the Bill is why it exists and why we should have the various targets, measures and frameworks that it will bring into action.

We all know that there is a consensus among the international community, climate change scientists and the political community that there is a considerable need to keep the temperature increase above pre-industrial levels to 2 degrees centigrade. If we do not have that in the Bill, I do not understand how the other major figures and items that we will come on to debate in Committee make sense. We from these Benches feel that it is very important that at the beginning of this Bill we have the objective that global warming should

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not be more than 2 degrees centigrade and that the United Kingdom should play its fair and equitable part in making sure that that objective is reached.

I remind the Committee that the Defra statement of 19 November on the post-2012 framework for tackling climate change said:

If that is not authoritative enough, the Prime Minister said on the same day in what was seen as a keynote speech on the Government’s climate change policy:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it clear that if that objective is not achieved, among very many other consequences there is a risk of some 30 to 40 per cent of species becoming extinct—a risk, not a certainty, as in many of these areas of climate science.

For those reasons we believe that the Bill should do exactly what the Government say it should do; it should lay out without doubt the context in which the Government and this nation will pursue the problem of climate change. This target should actually be in—

Lord Clinton-Davis: Can the noble Lord cite an example in which the objectives of the Bill have been defined as far as statute law is concerned? I do not think that he can.

Lord Teverson: If I understand the noble Lord, in terms of being binding, the United Kingdom can only have a certain—

Lord Clinton-Davis: What I just asked the noble Lord is whether he can point to other statutes where objectives have been defined. I do not think that he can.

Lord Teverson: I will respond to that by saying that the Government are claiming that this Bill is unique, that this type of legislation has never been brought forward anywhere else in the world and that therefore it is of a different nature from much of the legislation that we have seen in other countries or indeed in this country. I think that it is entirely valid to have the proper objective as stated by the Government included at the beginning of the Bill. I beg to move.

3.15 pm

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Amendment No. 2 is the only amendment in this group with which we are directly associated, but we agree with the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, that it is a good idea to set out at the beginning of this Bill a statement on the objective of the Bill—not just the means but the long-term objective.

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