Climate Change Bill

Charles Walker calls for sensible progress to be made towards reducing carbon emissions.

Mr. Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): I am glad that we are debating the inclusion of aviation and shipping in the Bill; such matters need to be aired and discussed in Parliament. Setting a reduction target of 80 per cent. by 2050 is laudable and ambitious, but probably unachievable. In the next 42 years we will return to this place regularly to recalibrate the target-to reduce it to take into account global recession and the need to create jobs and wealth.

The danger of setting a target of 80 per cent. is that it will become just another missed target. My word, we have had a lot of missed targets in the past 10 years. There is a danger that our constituents will perceive politicians perpetrating another con trick by setting a target that there is little-if any-hope of achieving. Let us be honest with the electorate and say that in an ideal world, we would like a carbon-neutral economy by 2050-zero carbon emissions-but it simply will not happen, because we do not live in an ideal world. What we should say is that in the next 42 years we will rightly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but do it sensibly, and that we will progress towards reducing carbon emissions, but not set artificial targets, which we realise-probably secretly-that we have little chance of achieving. We need to be honest with the electorate, and I do not believe that we are doing that.


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