Net Zero Carbon Emissions DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Lord Duncan of SpringbankMain Page: Lord Duncan of Springbank (Conservative - Life peer)
(1 year, 3 months ago)Lords Chamber
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to give new duties to regulators to promote the achievement of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as recommended in the National Infrastructure Commission Report Strategic Investment and Public Confidence, published on 11 October.
I am grateful to the Minister for his response, because it is good to know that the Government are looking at this seriously. Does he agree that the three regulators that have been reviewed—Ofgem, Ofcom and Ofwat—have the opportunity to make an enormous difference to reducing our carbon emissions by 2050? Can he explain whether the same duties will be imposed on the Office of Rail Regulation, and on his department in respect of road transport and other transports, because they all have a big role to play?
My Lords, I declare an interest as an engineer in the nuclear industry. New nuclear and a reset of the strategy for achieving it is critical to zero carbon by 2050, being the only mature option for the zero-carbon baseload or non-variable power. Can the Minister provide some assurance that the Government will maintain their focus on new nuclear initiatives such as investment in small modular reactors and the regulated asset based funding model to enable new nuclear beyond Hinkley to move forward?
My Lords, when the Minister and his department review the infrastructure report, will he also take into consideration the words of Ofgem, whose annual summary of trends was published this month. It says that the decarbonisation of energy has retracted to its,
“slowest rate of decline since 2012”.
There is a disconnect between the Government’s target of 2050 and what is actually happening. Can he tell us what Her Majesty’s Government are doing to reverse that trend, and when will the decarbonisation of energy start to accelerate again?
My Lords, the Government’s terms of reference for the National Infrastructure Commission actually require it not to have a significant impact on the public balance sheet. That seems to me absolutely bizarre, because the Government have an objective to get to net zero emissions but they do not want to invest in the solutions.
My Lords, while the regulators need these additional powers to enhance public confidence in combating climate change, can the Minister explain how the net zero target can be achieved by 2050 when the Government’s own target continues to exclude aviation and shipping?
My Lords, will my noble friend explain to the House the contribution that energy derived from waste recovery plants are making to zero carbon emissions? In particular, will he ensure that, rather than the electricity generated by them going to the national grid, it will go to local homes to reduce their heating costs, particularly in the north of England?