I attended the first meeting of the Net Zero, Energy and Climate Change Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on 13 October.
The meeting was chaired by the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. The meeting was also attended by Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands and Edwin Poots MLA, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The meeting included discussion of the latest UK-EU trade negotiations. I sought commitment from the UK Government to implement a UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) linked to the EU ETS. If this is not possible, I made a strong case for a stand-alone UK ETS to be pursued in preference to a Carbon Emissions Tax, a reserved policy which the UK Government is pursuing in parallel and over which Welsh Ministers and the Senedd would have no responsibility or influence. I sought confirmation as to when this decision would be taken and how the Welsh Government would be involved in that decision. The UK Minister did not answer these questions or provide the reassurance I was seeking during the meeting.
We also discussed the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions in the context of the forthcoming COP26 Conference, our international commitments, and the respective UK and Devolved Administration decarbonisation targets.
I wrote to Minister Kwarteng further regarding these and other issues following the meeting, including the need for engagement with the Welsh Government on the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy and the need to ensure fair funding for Wales’ industries, including recycling of ETS revenues.