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Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference

John Stephens Photography & Video  | 10 November 2005 | National Motorcycle Museum

 Elliot Morley MP, Minister of State (Climate Change and Environment) 19 Nov 05

 Biography- Elliot Morley

Climate Change Review and follow-up (incl.emissions trading)

Climate change aspects of agriculture and land use

 Energy issues (incl. energy efficiency)

 Radioactive substances

 Fuel poverty

· Transport and the environment

· Sustainable Consumption and Production

· Sustainable Development Strategy (incl. sustainable procurement)

· Business and the environment (incl. environmental industries)

· Business continuity/resilience

· Horizontal and international environmental issues (incl. environmental justice, environmental liability, illegal logging)

· Water issues

· Floods and coastal defence

· Environment Agency

· Chemical, Biological and Radionuclear incidents (CBRN)

· Genetic Modification

· UK spokesperson at Environment Council during UK Presidency

Chair of Sustainable Development Ministers

Elliot Morley was Minister of State for Environment and Agri-Environment at Defra between June 2003 and May 2005. He was responsible for climate change, waste issues, global and marine biodiversity, as well as water and flood and coastal defence. Between 1997 and June 2003 Mr Morley was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and at Defra.

Born on 6 July 1952, Mr Morley was educated at St Margaret's High School, Liverpool and Hull College of Education (B.Ed.) and was a head of department at Greatfield High School. A former president of Hull Teachers' Association, he was a Councillor for Hull City Council from 1979-86. He is MP for Scunthorpe.

In Opposition, Mr Morley was spokesman on food, agriculture and rural affairs with special responsibility for animal welfare and fisheries from 1989-97.

Previously, he was also a member of the Agriculture Select Committee


Elliot Morley's speech at the International Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference, Birmingham, 10 Nov 2005

Thank you very much, and good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s a great pleasure to be here at this important conference.

I’d like to extend my thanks to Japan to formally inviting the UK to host the conference, following their successful conference in 2003. We are very pleased to have been invited to host this event today, to further international dialogue and to have the opportunity to show what the UK has been doing in this field.

Mr Kume will talk shortly about some of the background to the first Environmentally Friendly Vehicles conference and what has happened since in Japan, in a minute. And Mr Riedstra will also tell us about some of the discussions and outputs from the Energy in Motion conference that The Netherlands hosted as part of their Presidency of the EU last year.

Today's event builds on the success of both of those conferences. Later on you will be hearing from Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Transport, but as the UK Environment Minister with special responsibility for climate change, my role today is to set the context for this conference by outlining the nature and scale of the global challenge on climate change that we face.

Let me start by outlining how we have taken forward the international climate change agenda during the UK Presidency of the G8 and EU this year.

This conference is very timely as it gives us an opportunity to look at progress in the context of the action plan on climate change agreed by G8 Heads of Government at their Gleneagles summit in July. This action plan involved steps to encourage "the development of cleaner, more efficient and lower-emitting vehicles".

The UK has chosen to make climate change, clean energy and sustainable development some of our key objectives for our Presidency of G8 this year - reflecting the importance of action on these issues at the highest level.

Consensus on the severity of this subject was underlined at the science of Climate Change conference held at the Met Office in Exeter in February this year.

The Exeter conference concluded that there was "greater clarity and reduced uncertainty about the impacts of climate change across a wide range of systems, sectors and societies." The message of the conference was clear and came with authority – that climate change is worse than previously thought and that we need to act urgently. If we do nothing, we will have committed to the onset of irreversible changes that we should strive to avoid. These changes are becoming increasingly well known and understood, and they include the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the collapse of the Amazon rainforest and many forests and grasslands world-wide, a transformation of most of the world’s ecosystems and many species extinctions, and substantial sea level rises.

But another message of the Exeter conference was that technological options for reducing emissions over long term already exist and significant reductions can be attained using a portfolio of technologies.

So it is time to move from the debate about the existence of climate change, to discussion and action on how we set about tackling the problem.

G8 leaders recognised the serious and long-term nature of this challenge in July at Gleneagles, and agreed to act with urgency to tackle it. The practical measures they agreed focus on using the technology we have now to make a real difference to our emissions right away, at the same time as putting more effort into developing new low-carbon technologies that will be essential if we are to achieve the deep cuts in emissions that the scientists say are necessary.

At the Gleneagles G8 Summit in July this year, heads of government launched a Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development, to report to the G8 Summit in Japan in 2008. The Dialogue is intended to be complementary to the UNFCCC process by providing an informal space for discussion on future energy needs. Developed and developing countries can discuss their energy needs and explore areas for cooperation without the need to deliver agreement on exactly the same course of action for all the countries.

At the first meeting of the Gleneagles Dialogue, in London on 1 November, the G8 countries and countries with significant energy needs, including China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, agreed to work towards new paradigms for international cooperation on climate change issues. One of the main issues discussed was the scope of international cooperation to develop new low-carbon technologies, and scaling up the deployment of existing technologies.

This conference fits very well into this context of seeking practical measures to tackle rising emissions. That is why I am particularly glad to welcome so many participants from these countries.

Of course, the UNFCCC remains the appropriate forum for negotiating targets consistent with stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations at a safe level, and I am looking forward to the negotiations in Montreal in December. These are expected to get the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol off to a strong start and begin the process to establish a long-term framework to combat climate change.

Whilst our focus here is on climate change, we shouldn’t forget that air quality is also an important public health issue. Defra has a joint public service agreement with the Department for Transport, where we are committed to both reducing emissions and improving air quality, and we work together very well on that. I very much appreciate the help and support we get from the Department of Transport and their Secretary of State. Links between air pollution and health are at the heart of our Air Quality Strategy. This estimates that between 12,000-24,000 deaths a year in the UK are brought forward as a result of exposure to episodes of high air pollution. There are also similar number of hospital admissions and readmissions. Environmentally friendly vehicles have the potential to provide benefits for both climate change and air quality. They are a win-win solution. It is our long term aim to embrace the climate change and air quality challenges together, and the development and use of environmentally friendly vehicles now, and in the future, is of fundamental importance

Finally, I would like to turn to another recent conference that we hosted as part of our Presidency - "Climate Change: The Business Forecast" conference, hosted jointly by Defra, DTI and the Climate Group, last month, in London.

The conference explored the frameworks needed by business to encourage far-sighted energy efficient investment as well as the business opportunities in a low carbon economy - both issues relevent to this discussion.

We know that business needs a framework that is clear, coherent and committed. Government's job is to provide that framework at home and internationally so that business is encouraged to seek out opportunities and innovate for the long term.

The smartest companies and manufacturers know already that business as usual isn't an option and, to succeed in a carbon constrained world, it makes sense to invest and think differently about the technologies to develop.

Let me return now to today's conference.

As you will have seen, we are exploring three main themes - first, what technological breakthroughs we should expect to see and what these may deliver. Second, how industry, Governments and others can get people to buy those vehicles. And third, what the massive expansion in car ownership is likely to mean for emerging economies.

We want this event to be a genuine dialogue, which is why we have allowed plenty of time for discussion and debate, in the plenary and parallel sessions but also in the coffee and lunch breaks and at tonight's dinner.

We all have an interest – and a duty to future generations - to ensure that the benefits of mobility that we now take for granted, do not place an intolerable burden on our environment. Environmentally friendly vehicles have the potential to play a key role in delivering that goal; And there are potential win wins: Benefits for the environment in terms of emissions and air quality, but also benefits in terms of new business opportunities in new areas of technology and innovation, which I know that many companies are clearly already thinking about. Your deliberations and discussions are absolutely crucial in terms of taking this forward, and I wish you the very best of success in your conference here today.

Thank you very muchDefra, UK - About Defra - Ministers - Ministers' speeches - Speech by Elliot Morley at the International Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference, Birmingham, 10 November 2005


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