The latest amendments to the Infrastructure Bill include a new Government clause which would require ministers to ask for guidance on the climate impacts of onshore oil and gas. A group of Lib Dem MPs has submitted a similar amendment.
Under the government’s amendment, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) would be asked to give advice on the impact on climate change of burning oil and gas extracted onshore. It would also be asked about the impact on climate change of fugitive emissions.
The amendment also requires the CCC to give advice on how onshore oil and gas production would affect the government’s abilities to meet its carbon budgets and targets. These are legally-binding limits required by the Climate Change Act.
The amendment, in the name of the Transport Secretary Patrick McLaughlin, also requires the government to produce and publish a report on the conclusions it reaches after considering the advice.
Lib Dem amendment
A group of nine backbench Lib Dem MPs have put down a similar new amendment included in the latest list. This requires the CCC to produce reports into the effects of shale gas exploitation on net carbon emissions from the UK.
The supporters of the Lib Dem amendment are: Julian Huppert (Cambridge), Martin Horwood (Cheltenham), Adrian Sanders (Torbay), John Leech (Manchester Withington), Norman Baker (Lewes), Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne), Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam), Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole) and Mark Williams (Ceredigion)
There are now more than 30 other amendments to the onshore oil and gas section of the Infrastructure Bill. These include clauses which would require the Bill to be compatible with the Climate Change Act and restrict shale gas exploitation and fracking unless the CCC concludes it would reduce UK carbon emissions. There are also two amendments which seek to declare a moratorium on onshore unconventional oil and gas production and another that would ban high volume hydraulic fracturing in the UK.
MPs will debate the Report Stage of the Infrastructure Bill on Monday afternoon (January 23rd 2015).