§ Mr. Llew Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to issue discussion documents on the lines of his Department's publication "Climate Change: our National Programme for Carbon Dioxide Emissions" in relation to other greenhouse gases.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate the increase in carbon emissions for every 1 per cent. decrease in the real cost of(a) gas and (b) electricity.
§ Mr. Maclean
Decreases in the real cost of energy will tend to increase demand and hence lead to increased carbon emissions. It is difficult to give a rule of thumb estimate of the effect, since the price elasticity of demand varies significantly between sectors and depends both on the absolute level of prices and the magnitude of any change. Changes in the price of any one fuel may also affect demand for others. And the impact on carbon272W emissions of a change in demand for electricity will depend on how the change in demand affects the balance of fuels used in generation.
As an illustration of the possible impact of energy price changes, the 17.5 per cent. increase in the price of energy to domestic sector users implied by the introduction of VAT is estimated to lead to a decrease in carbon emissions of approximately 1.5 million tonnes by the year 2000. An equivalent fall in energy prices to the domestic sector would have an approximately opposite effect.