Government under scrutiny on climate change from five Lords Committees and Treasury Select Committee

Five House of Lords committees are coming together to examine some of the ways climate change will affect policy areas, and what action the Government is taking to prepare for COP26, the UN climate change conference the UK is hosting in November.

The five committees will consider climate change from five different angles on 11, 12 and 18 March, exploring how it will affect specific policy areas and what the government’s response should be.

In a later session on 25 March, members from each committee will jointly challenge the government on what action it is taking and scrutinise preparations for COP26, the UN climate change conference the UK is hosting in November.

The committees involved are the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, EU Internal Market Sub-Committee, EU External Affairs Sub-Committee, EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee and EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee.

On 11 March sessions will consider climate change and migration and international carbon markets. On 12 March they will probe climate change and international development, state aid and meeting climate targets. On Wednesday 18 March peers will quiz Mark Carney on green financeand Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP (President of COP 26), on climate change and COP26
Speaking ahead of the series of evidence sessions, Lord Teverson, chair of the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, said:
“Climate change is an emergency. …
“These sessions will shed light on a number of those diverse climate change challenges that now confront us. Our follow up will be pressing ministers on how the government intends to move forward. With COP26 only months away, clear and focused responses from minsters will be essential.”

Treasury under scrutiny

Meanwhile, the Treasury Committee has launched an inquiry into the decarbonisation of the UK economy and green finance. It will scrutinise the role of HM Treasury, regulators and financial services firms in meeting climate change commitments. It will also examine the economic potential of decarbonisation. It will begin taking oral evidence on 10 March.

This inquiry will cover:

  • - The economic opportunity that decarbonisation presents for the UK, and the potential of the green finance sector
  • - HMT’s strategy in facilitating clean growth and its response to the CCC’s net-zero recommendations
  • - The role of the Spending Review in facilitating net-zero
  • - The role that financial services firms are currently playing in financing the transition
  • - The ‘green’ financial product landscape and their associated regulatory environment.

The Committee’s key questions include the costs and benefits of decarbonisation for the UK, the Green Finance sector and whether the UK has a competitive advantage in this space. It will ask what is HMT’s current strategy, and approach to, UK decarbonisation. Is it fit for purpose and will it deliver a just transition? What role should the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review play in UK decarbonisation? What projects or measures should receive additional funds through this process?

Beynd the Treasury it will ask what  the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority are doing to support decarbonisation and a ‘greening’ of the financial system, and what expectations should be placed on regulated firms on their role in the transition through their policy and supervisory activities?

Follow the Treasury inquiry here

Further reading

Where does a Ministry for Climate Change belong?

Lords committee complains over lack of BEIS analysis over carbon and power costs in ‘no-deal’ Brexit

Treasury ‘net zero’ review terms of reference published

Is it time to re-examine the regulatory model?

OPINION: A trillion pounds? It’s a winning transition

OPINION: The UK faces a bleak energy future outside the EU’s internal market

Brexit ‘raises fears over future energy supply and price’ says Lords committee