Government insists climate change policy is 'consistent'

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The government has defended its policies on climate change against criticism from both Labour and the Conservative backbenches.

Exchanges on the subject began with a question on 9 April 2014 from Labour's Lord Judd, who was concerned about what he termed 250,000 homes "at risk" from "extreme weather events".

He pressed the government to ensure "no further delay in galvanising the international community into making this absolutely central to all political activity".

Energy and Climate Change Minister Baroness Verma acknowledged that extreme weather was becoming more frequent and pointed to £3bn she said the government had invested in "responding to issues such as floods" over the course of this Parliament.

But more than one senior Conservative questioned the department's approach, with former Foreign Office minister Lord Howell of Guildford arguing "now may be time to consider switching our colossal expenditure in attempted mitigation to adaptation" since "current mitigation efforts seems to be producing no vast improvement in carbon emissions".

Similarly, former Chancellor Lord Lawson of Blaby contended the minister was "completely mistaken" to say a twin-track approach of mitigation and adaptation was best.

"There are competing claims on resources and we have to decide which is our priority. Is it to try single-handedly to decarbonise the world?" he asked, warning that course of action would put up energy prices and "litter the countryside with windfarms and solar panels".

But Lady Verma insisted "it is about both, I think, adaptation and mitigation" and "we cant have one or the other".

Shadow energy minister Baroness Worthington identified the apparent gap between the front bench and backbenches, stressing that "climate change is manmade and we must act" and calling it "regrettable" that "we have some prominent members on the other side who do not seem to accept this logic".

The minister replied: "We have been consistent on this side of the House that we need to address mitigation and of course adaptation."

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