Lords Question Kyoto Deal :
Tim Radford, science editor
Wednesday July 6, 2005
FROM - The Guardian
The government should lead the world in exploring new ways of dealing with global warming, a House of Lords committee says today. But their report adds that:
· the Kyoto agreement to limit carbon emissions will make little difference and is likely to fail
· the science of climate change leaves "considerable uncertainty" about the future
· there are concerns about the objectivity of the international panel of scientists that has led research into climate change
· the positive aspects of global warming "appear to have been downplayed"
· the UK's energy and climate policy contains "dubious assumptions" about renewable energy and energy efficiency.
But Lord Wakeham, chairman of the Lords select committee on economic affairs, denied the committee had taken the US administration's line on climate science.
"We are ... saying what we think the government should do. We think this is along the lines of the types of agreements that the United States could be persuaded to go along with."
The committee said Britain's nuclear power capacity should be maintained at its present level even after existing plants had been decommissioned.
"We think the balance between mitigation, reducing emissions, and on the other hand adaptation, responding intelligently to the inescapable changes, needs to be examined," said Lord Wakeham.
"The costs of mitigation are pretty uncertain and so are the benefits and they are certainly very distant. However, adaptation, which includes things like flood defences, water conservation, modified agriculture, have measurable costs and calculable benefits.
"We also want to see a far more serious effort into research and development of new carbon-free technologies ... we suggest such an effort might be compared to the scale of resources given to the US Apollo programme that put the man on the moon."