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Williams: Tackling the climate change threat to Wales

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"Annual targets for reducing carbon emissions must be taken on board, because there is a real weakness in terms of the current lack of oversight in the Assembly. Further to that, the Welsh Conservatives believe that the most effective way of dealing with this issue is through an independent body that would set annual targets to reduce emissions and monitor progress, so that climate change could stop being a political football, and we could start to build consensus across the political spectrum about how to tackle it.

I believe that climate change is the biggest challenge facing the National Assembly and other Governments across the world. It is unfortunate that it is not being treated as such in Wales, where we are well able to make a difference. Despite England and Scotland making good headway in reducing their carbon emissions substantially, Wales has seen its emissions rise since 1997. Failure to mitigate the effects of climate change will be disastrous for Wales, as well as for the rest of the world. The environmental cost will be borne most heavily by the poorest parts of the world.

Wales cannot escape the effects of climate change. While the First Minister may welcome global warming that gives Wales a Spanish or even a Californian climate, it ignores the wider impact that the changes will have on Wales.

Only today, the National Trust told us that over 70 per cent of the Welsh coastline is under threat of erosion because of climate change. The damage from flooding that is predicted to accompany climate change will have a serious effect on Wales. The economic cost for Wales and the UK will also be considerable, as Sir Nicholas Stern has pointed out.

Upwards of 20 per cent of the world's gross domestic product will be put on the line if no action is taken to avert a temperature rise of just 2 degrees Celsius. The Welsh economy does not exist in isolation, and its future, to a great extent, is tied to what happens internationally.

It is often said that the UK's contribution to carbon emission is insignificant, and that Wales's contribution is even less important. It has been argued that when China opens a new coal-fired power plant every week it is pointless for Wales or the UK to change at all.

However, I believe Wales should be a leader and set an example for others to follow—with a National Assembly that has enough foresight to recognise that new technologies and techniques that are pioneered here to mitigate climate change will give Wales a major competitive advantage in years to come, when other nations, particularly the big polluters, are realising their obligation to face up to climate change.

To begin with, Wales needs an energy policy with a much better mix of technologies, and one that moves away from the technical advice note 8 policy of putting all the eggs in one basket with a commitment to massive and intrusive onshore wind developments.

Wales has a whole range of strengths that could be developed with the right encouragement and incentives. The agricultural sector has a great willingness to get involved in energy crops—both in terms of biomass and biofuel. However, compared with other countries, where these technologies are established, Wales and the UK are lagging behind.

There has been no Welsh equivalent of England's energy crops scheme for biomass, and compared with Germany, which puts no duty on biofuel, the situation in the UK is uncompetitive.

I am aware of at least one company in north Wales that is moving into the biofuel industry of crushing oil-seed rape, but it is ridiculous that it has to export its product to Ireland because, as soon as it is called biofuel, it attracts a 28.5 per cent tax. That makes it uncompetitive, which means that, once again, we are losing out in Wales.

Apart from the carbon emissions involved in transporting large volumes of biofuel, Wales ends up missing out on jobs because processing has gone elsewhere. Wales also has great potential for developing hydro-electricity—as much as 100 MW, just by using run-off river schemes on a small scale. However, these sectors are still undeveloped because the Welsh Assembly Government has ignored them in favour of onshore wind energy.

Energy from waste must also be seriously considered, and the potential in organic waste, through anaerobic digestion and biogas, whereby methane is captured and used to generate power locally rather than escaping into the atmosphere, must be seized. This should include slurry pits on farms, as well as sewage farms around major conurbations.

There should also be an open debate about what to do with the waste that is left after as much as possible has been recycled. Packaging must be reduced—manufacturers have to look seriously at that—and recycling must be increased, but there will be a residue that has to be dealt with. If there will not be additional landfill capacity, we should look at recovering energy from waste at that very last stage through combined heat and power plants.

Energy efficiency has to be the cornerstone of tackling climate change. If demand is not reduced and consumption continues to increase at its current rate then renewable energy production will make less and less of a contribution.

On a household scale, Wales faces a great challenge in dealing with older housing stock, as we heard earlier. The majority of that stock is far from energy efficient, but will still be here in 50 years' time.

Less than a third of private rental accommodation in Wales has cavity wall insulation, and more than half of privately owned homes have yet to have it installed. If this situation is to improve, there must be incentives for all property owners to improve the efficiency of their buildings, as well as to install microgeneration technologies to reduce energy consumption.

Tackling climate change touches on a great many issues, not all of which I have time to mention today. However, the question, on every issue that has an impact on climate change, has to be: is Wales going to lead and set an example for others to follow; or will it be forever playing catch-up with those countries that have the foresight to act early and responsibly to mitigate its effect?"

"Rhaid derbyn targedau blynyddol ar gyfer lleihau allyriadau carbon, oherwydd mae gwendid go iawn yn nhermau'r diffyg goruchwylio ar hyn o bryd yn y Cynulliad. At hynny, cred Ceidwadwyr Cymru mai'r ffordd fwyaf effeithiol i ddelio â'r mater hwn yw trwy gorff annibynnol a fyddai'n gosod targedau blynyddol i leihau allyriadau ac yn monitro'r hyn a gyflawnid, fel y gallai newid hinsawdd beidio â bod yn bêl-droed gwleidyddol, ac y gallem ddechrau adeiladu consensws ar draws y sbectrwm gwleidyddol ynghylch sut i fynd i'r afael ag ef.

Credaf mai newid hinsawdd yw'r her fwyaf sy'n wynebu'r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol a Llywodraethau eraill dros y byd. Mae'n anffodus nad yw'n cael ei drin felly yng Nghymru, lle gallwn yn hawdd wneud gwahaniaeth. Er bod Lloegr a'r Alban yn cymryd camau breision i leihau eu hallyriadau carbon yn sylweddol, gwelodd Cymru gynnydd yn ei hallyriadau ers 1997. Bydd methiant i liniaru effeithiau newid hinsawdd yn drychineb i Gymru, yn ogystal ag i weddill y byd. Rhannau tlotaf y byd fydd yn talu'r gost amgylcheddol drymaf.

Ni all Cymru ddianc rhag effeithiau newid hinsawdd. Er bod y Prif Weinidog efallai'n croesawu cynhesu byd-eang sy'n rhoi hinsawdd Sbaenaidd, neu Galiffornaidd hyd yn oed, i Gymru, mae'n anwybyddu'r effaith ehangach a gaiff y newidiadau ar Gymru.

Dim ond heddiw, dywedodd yr Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol wrthym fod dros 70 y cant o arfordir Cymru dan fygythiad erydiad oherwydd newid hinsawdd. Bydd y niwed gan lifogydd a ragwelir gyda newid hinsawdd yn cael effaith ddifrifol ar Gymru. Bydd y gost economaidd i Gymru a'r Deyrnas Unedig yn sylweddol hefyd, fel y mae Syr Nicholas Stern wedi nodi. Peryglir dros 20 y cant o gynnyrch mewnwladol crynswth y byd os na wneir dim i atal codiad tymheredd o ddim ond 2 radd Celsius. Nid yw economi Cymru'n bodoli ar ei phen ei hun, ac mae ei dyfodol, i raddau helaeth, yn dibynnu ar yr hyn sydd yn digwydd yn rhyngwladol.

Dywedir yn aml fod cyfraniad y Deyrnas Unedig at allyriadau carbon yn dila, a bod cyfraniad Cymru'n llai pwysig fyth. Dadleuwyd pan fo Tsieina'n agor pwerdy glo newydd bob wythnos nad oes pwynt i Gymru na'r Deyrnas Unedig newid o gwbl. Fodd bynnag, yr wyf fi'n credu y dylai Cymru fod yn arweinydd a gosod esiampl i eraill ei dilyn—gyda Chynulliad Cenedlaethol sydd â digon o ragwelediad i sylweddoli y bydd technolegau a thechnegau newydd a arloesir yma i liniaru newid hinsawdd yn rhoi mantais gystadleuol fawr i Gymru mewn blynyddoedd i ddod, pan fydd cenhedloedd eraill, yn enwedig y llygrwyr mawr, yn sylweddoli eu dyletswydd i wynebu newid hinsawdd.

Yn gyntaf, mae ar Gymru angen polisi ynni â chymysgedd llawer gwell o dechnolegau, ac un sydd yn symud i ffwrdd oddi wrth bolisi nodyn cyngor technegol 8 o roi'r wyau i gyd mewn un fasged gydag ymrwymiad i ddatblygiadau gwynt anferthol ac ymwthiol ar y tir.

Mae gan Gymru amrediad cyfan o gryfderau y gellid eu datblygu gyda'r anogaeth a'r cymhellion iawn. Mae'r sector amaethyddol yn barod iawn i ddechrau cynhyrchu cnydau ynni—yn nhermau biomas a biodanwydd ill dau. Fodd bynnag, o gymharu â gwledydd eraill, lle mae'r technolegau hyn wedi'u sefydlu, mae Cymru a'r Deyrnas Unedig ar ei hôl hi.

Ni chafwyd dim byd yng Nghymru i gyfateb i gynllun cnydau ynni Lloegr ar gyfer biomas, ac o gymharu â'r Almaen, lle na chodir dim toll ar fiodanwydd, mae'r sefyllfa yn y Deyrnas Unedig yn anghystadleuol. Gwn am o leiaf un cwmni yn y Gogledd sydd yn symud i mewn i ddiwydiant biodanwydd mathru rêp hadau olew, ond mae'n hurt fod yn rhaid iddo allforio'i gynnyrch i Iwerddon oherwydd, cyn gynted ag y caiff ei alw'n fiodanwydd, mae'n denu treth o 28.5 y cant. Mae hynny'n ei wneud yn anghystadleuol, sy'n golygu ein bod ni, unwaith eto, yn colli allan yng Nghymru.

Ar wahân i'r allyriadau carbon cysylltiedig â chludo meintiau mawr o fiodanwydd, mae Cymru yn y pen draw'n colli swyddi am fod y prosesu wedi mynd i rywle arall. Mae gan Gymru botensial mawr hefyd ar gyfer datblygu trydan dwr—cymaint â 100 MW, dim ond drwy ddefnyddio cynlluniau dwr ffo afon ar raddfa fach. Fodd bynnag, mae'r sectorau hyn yn dal yn annatblygedig am fod Llywodraeth y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol wedi'u hanwybyddu ar draul ynni gwynt ar y tir.

Rhaid rhoi ystyriaeth ddifrifol hefyd i ynni o wastraff, a rhaid manteisio ar y potensial mewn gwastraff organig, trwy dreuliad anerobig a bionwy, lle caiff methan ei ddal a'i ddefnyddio i gynhyrchu pwer yn lleol yn hytrach na gadael iddo ddianc i'r atmosffer. Dylai hyn gynnwys pydewau biswail ar ffermydd, yn ogystal â gweithfeydd trin carthion o gwmpas trefi mawr.

Dylid cael dadl agored hefyd am beth i'w wneud gyda'r gwastraff sydd ar ôl wedi i gymaint ag sy'n bosibl gael ei ailgylchu. Rhaid lleihau deunydd pacio—rhaid i wneuthurwyr edrych o ddifrif ar hynny—a rhaid cynyddu ailgylchu, ond bydd gweddill ar ôl y bydd yn rhaid delio ag ef. Oni fydd lle i gladdu rhagor o wastraff, dylem ystyried adennill ynni o'r gwastraff hwnnw ar y diwedd un trwy gyfuno ffatrïoedd gwres a phwer.

Effeithiolrwydd ynni yw'r conglfaen parthed mynd i'r afael â newid yn yr hinsawdd. Oni ellir lleihau'r galw ac os bydd traul yn dal i gynyddu yna bydd cynhyrchu ynni adnewyddadwy'n gwneud llai a llai o gyfraniad.

Ac ystyried tai, mae sialens fawr yn wynebu Cymru o ran delio â'r hen stoc dai, fel y clywsom yn gynharach. Nid yw'r rhan fwyaf o'r stoc yn effeithlon o ran ynni, ond bydd yn dal mewn bodolaeth mewn 50 mlynedd.

Mae gan lai na thraean o dai rhent preifat Cymru insiweleiddiad waliau dwbl, ac nid yw hanner y tai preifat wedi ei osod eto chwaith. Os yw pethau am wella, bydd yn rhaid sicrhau cymhelliad i berchnogion tai wella effeithlonrwydd eu hadeiladau, ynghyd â gosod dyfeisiau microgynhyrchu i leihau'r ynni a ddefnyddir.

Mae mynd i'r afael â newid yn yr hinsawdd yn rhywbeth sy'n cyffwrdd â nifer fawr o faterion, ac nid oes gennyf amser i grybwyll pob un ohonynt heddiw. Fodd bynnag, y cwestiwn, sy'n ymwneud â phob mater sy'n effeithio ar newid yn yr hinsawdd yw hwn: a yw Cymru am arwain a gosod esiampl i eraill ei dilyn; neu a yw am ddilyn yn sgil y gwledydd hynny sy'n ddigon blaengar i weithredu'n gynnar ac yn gyfrifol i liniaru ei effeithiau?"

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