David T.C. Davies, the Member of Parliament for Monmouth, has told the House of Commons that government policies on climate change, which have massively increased the cost of energy for homeowners and businesses, are based on the assumption that all the global warming that has taken place in the last two centuries is down to humans – an assumption that not even the IPCC makes.
Addressing the Deputy Speaker and his colleagues, Mr Davies said: “No one has ever denied that carbon dioxide is a global warming gas. No one has ever denied that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere since we started industrialising. Not many people are bothering to deny the fact that there has been an increase in temperature of about 0.8°C over the past 250 years, and although it is a bit more questionable than some would have it, there is no need to question it at the moment. It follows that CO2 emissions that are man-made have had some impact on temperatures.
“What does not follow is the argument that is so often put forward, which is that CO2 emitted by mankind has been completely responsible for the very minor increase in temperature that we have seen over the past 250 years.”
This drew challenges from others in the debate, to which Mr Davies replied by citing the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by highlighting “page 17, fourth paragraph down” of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers, which says:
“It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”
Mr Davies explained: “The overall increase over the past 250 years is 0.8 °C, but in the second half of the 20th century, the increase was about 0.5 °C. What the IPCC is saying in this report is that slightly over half of that is likely to have been man-made.
“Even the IPCC is not saying that the increase in temperature is a result of man-made carbon emissions. It is saying that some of it is, and that the overall amount is well under half. On the basis of this, we are going ahead with a set of policies that have caused massive increases in energy bills for home owners and businesses.”
Mr Davies made his speech during an Opposition Day debate on climate change, at which the House of Commons voted to affirm its commitment stopping global temperatures from rising by more than 2°C. Parliamentarians also voted in favour of urging other countries to commit to “ambitious emissions targets”, a goal of “net zero emissions in the second half of the century”, and “an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in their efforts to combat climate change”, as well as support for climate change mitigation packages.
Speaking during the debate, the shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said “It is extremely worrying that so many Government Members are still in denial and refuse to accept the views of the majority of scientists around the world. Not only are they a threat to the environment; they are a threat to the jobs and opportunities these changes bring.”
But Peter Lilley, who was one of just four members of Parliament to vote against the Climate Change Act in 2008 which committed the government to costly subsidies for green energy, pointed challenged Flint, asking “Is the right hon. Lady going to address the issue of cost? She criticised me and four others for voting against the Climate Change Act, but I did so because the impact assessment showed that the potential costs were twice the maximum benefits. According to the Government, the costs will now reach something like £400 a household by 2020.”
Ms Flint accused Mr Lilley of remaining “in the 19th Century”, and insisted that “there is a bigger cost to doing nothing”, as current policies will “create job and investment opportunities.”