Government promises big on climate change action
by David Masters
October 21, 2008
The British Government has pledged to cut the UK’s carbon emissions 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
This replaces the former target of reducing carbon output 60% by the middle of the century.
Ed Miliband, recently appointed as the new energy and climate change secretary, announced the new targets this week to MPs in Westminster.
Miliband said that turmoil on the world’s financial market should not be an excuse for Britain to ignore its commitment to tackle climate change.
The new targets mean that the government has accepted the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee, chaired by Lord Turner.
Last week the committee told the government that the UK should commit to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to 1990 levels, and that the commitment should cover all sectors of the economy.
In addition, Miliband announced plans to change the Energy Bill so that small scale renewable projects are offered more support.
He also warned energy companies that unless something is done to end overcharging on prepayment energy meters then the government will step in with new legislation.
Environmental campaigners have welcomed the pledge to further reduce carbon emissions.
Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, said the government’s new commitment is encouraging and internationally significant.
He added that meeting the targets will require determined action from the current Labour government and all future governments, as well as the British population.
However, some environmental groups have been more cautious in welcoming the proposed changes.
World Development Movement, the RSPB, Christian Aid, and WWF all said the government must do more to cut emissions in the UK rather than buying in carbon credits from overseas.
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