Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, I am very pleased to see the relationship with the economy being brought to the fore here for two reasons: one is its inherent importance; the second is the query lurking around somewhere about whether the Bill should have anything to do with the economy. Before Glasgow, that query will be blown out of the water. We cannot just go on saying that we are doing things about greenhouse gases, and about what we might call the coefficient between the growth of greenhouse gases relative to the growth of GDP, and thinking everything in the garden is lovely. It is not; the opposite, I am afraid, is true. We have until Glasgow to make sure we are not blown out of the water when it comes to our credentials.

I have raised both in Grand Committee and here, in different contexts, how we are going to make sure that we have a relevant metric—that is what the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, called it—to measure the development of greenhouse gases, the growth of the economy and, above all, the desired change in the coefficient so that greenhouse gases are going downwards, relative to the growth of the economy, rather than upwards.

Whitehall government is falling between some stools here, and I would like the Minister to take on board the fact that we need to get our act together with some statistical compatibility between the things we think we are talking about. There is no point repeating mantras such as “net zero” and looking at many decades if we cannot even get our quarterly data to make sense. We need to have quarterly data that puts together the recent change in the gross national product on the one hand and the greenhouse gas data on the other. The work done by the Committee on Climate Change leaves open to discussion an alarming divergence, in the wrong direction, of these two metrics.

I am not coming from the same place, politically, as Members from the Green Party. However, some clarity about how our economy, in the short to medium term, should be developing in terms of greenhouse gases, and how this can be made into a more credible picture before Glasgow, is—for the Labour Party and others taking a serious interest in this matter, I am sure—a hugely important requirement. We hear very little about it, and it is partly because of the environment being in a different silo in Whitehall from the economic silos in the department of business and the Treasury. We have some experience of those sorts of arguments; I recognise one when I see one.

I will table an amendment on Report on precisely these questions. This is a good moment, I hope, to flag up the importance of getting something into the Bill which will be an opportunity to make some progress before Glasgow, so that we do not look like the emperor with no clothes.

Baroness Parminter Portrait Baroness Parminter (LD)
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My Lords, I support the green grouping, as it has been classed; as we are in coalition with a Green group in my local borough of Waverley, I am keen to do some cross-party supporting of this. It goes slightly broader than the Bill, but there is nothing wrong with that to me. I would not wish to suggest what was in the minds of the two noble Baronesses, but I have a strong sense of the frustration that we are facing this ecological crisis and getting to the end of the Bill, but are we using every single tool in the toolbox to make sure that we address this issue? I commend the ambition, and I am grateful to them for bringing this forward.

The noble Baronesses are right that the first amendment, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, focuses on economics. As we all know, it is always a case of “follow the money,” and it is right that we should put on more pressure to ensure that the Treasury embeds the climate and environmental goals into our future national accounting structures. It would be fantastic if we were standing here today and by now had seen the net-zero strategy and had an idea of the Government’s thinking on this.