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TIC/S3/07/R3

3rd Report, 2007 (Session 3)

 Report on the Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Climate Change Bill - LCM (S3) 4.1

Remit and membership

Remit:

To consider and report on matters relating to transport, infrastructure and climate change falling within the remit of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth.

 
Membership:

Patrick Harvie (Convener)
Rob Gibson
Charlie Gordon
Alex Johnstone
Alison McInnes
Cathy Peattie (Deputy Convener)
Shirley-Anne Somerville
David Stewart

Committee Clerking Team:

Clerk to the Committee
Steve Farrell

Senior Assistant Clerk
Alastair Macfie

Assistant Clerk
Clare O'Neill

Committee Assistant
Sophie Ellison

 Report on the Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Climate Change Bill - LCM (S3) 4.1

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

Introduction

1. The Climate Change Bill is currently under consideration in the UK Parliament. It was introduced in the House of Lords on 14 November 2007. In accordance with Standing Orders Rule 9B.3, a legislative consent memorandum in relation to the Bill was lodged by the Scottish Executive on 15 November 2007. The memorandum can be found on the Parliament’s website.1

2. As explained in the memorandum, the Bill sets out plans to introduce legally binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by at least 60% by 2050 with an interim target of 26-32% reduction by 2020. It also proposes a new independent expert Committee on Climate Change to advise on the best way to achieve these targets.

3. In summary the Bill will:

  • ensure that Scottish Ministers are consulted on amending the 2020 and 2050 UK carbon emissions targets and on the setting and amending of the five-year carbon budgets which will set the path to reaching these targets;
  • give the Scottish Ministers powers (within devolved competence) to set up trading schemes relating to greenhouse gas emissions;
  • ensure that the Committee on Climate Change advises all UK administrations on the UK emissions reduction target;
  • give the Scottish Ministers the power to request advice from the Committee on Climate Change in relation to Scottish emissions targets;
  • give the Scottish Parliament the power to call members of the Committee on Climate Change as witnesses; and
  • ensure that the Committee on Climate Change submits reports to the Scottish Parliament or to the Scottish Ministers at the same time as to the UK Parliament or to the Secretary of State.

Committee consideration of the memorandum

4. The Committee issued a call for evidence on the legislative consent memorandum and received four responses from the following organisations: RSPB Scotland, Scottish and Southern Energy, Woodland Trust Scotland and WWF Scotland. These responses can be found on the Committee’s website.2

5. At its meeting 4 December 2007, the Committee considered the memorandum and took evidence from Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change; Philip Wright, Deputy Director of Climate Change, Elizabeth Baird, Head of UK Climate Change Branch, and Rosemary Whaley, Principal Legal Officer, Scottish Government

6. During the evidence session the Committee explored a range of issues including: the development of the Bill and the Scottish Government’s input to its development; the targets for reducing emissions and carbon budgets; the Climate Change Committee and how it will reflect Scottish perspective; and emissions trading schemes. Following the evidence session at that meeting, members of the Committee expressed their views on the memorandum. A transcript of the meeting can be found on the Committee’s webpage.3

7. The Committee noted that the Climate Change Bill sets a statutory framework for actions which will be taken to address climate change, but that many of the specific measures will be developed in future years. The Committee therefore recommends that the Scottish Government engages with the UK Government on an ongoing basis to ensure that Scottish interests are represented as policy develops. The Committee also recommends that the Scottish Government monitors any amendments made to the Bill as it passes through the Westminster Parliament, and makes appropriate representations to ensure that the revised Bill takes into account Scottish interests.

Subordinate Legislation Committee Consideration

8. The Subordinate Legislation Committee considered provisions in the Climate Change Bill which confers on the Scottish Ministers powers to make subordinate legislation at its meeting on 27 November 2007. In its report, the Subordinate Legislation Committee raised various issues and invited the lead committee to consider these issues. The Committee raised some of these issues with the Minister when taking evidence from him on the memorandum. The Subordinate Legislation Committee’s report can be viewed on the Parliament’s website.4

Conclusion

9. The Committee draws to the attention of the Parliament the written and oral evidence received by the Committee on the legislative consent memorandum, and the issues highlighted by members of the Committee in this report.


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