Carbon-dioxide emissions 'to be cut 60 per cent'

Click to follow

The Government is to commit itself to the bold target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 in its energy White Paper to be published next week.

The Government is to commit itself to the bold target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 in its energy White Paper to be published next week.

It will also put pressure on businesses to be more environmentally friendly and will promise more than £300m for renewable energy, including solar and wind power.

The paper highlights the danger that terrorist threats pose to Britain's gas, oil and nuclear supplies and calls for greater "contingency planning" and less reliance on one fuel supply. It recognises that Britain will have to rely increasingly on the Middle East and Russia for supplies of gas. "Our perception and understanding of terrorist threats changed on 11 September 2001. Since then we have improved and will continue to improve our contingency planning and resilience and dealing with major incidents," it says. "This applies especially to the energy sector."

The White Paper will say: "We can get to a 60 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 in a number of ways. But leaving action until the last minute is not a serious option. If we do not begin now, more dramatic and more disruptive change would be needed later on."

The target is more ambitious than the Kyoto goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 12.5 per cent by 2010.

It rules out using an increase in nuclear power as a way of reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, who will launch the paper next week, has resisted pressure to be "pro-nuclear", ruling out building new power stations without a new White Paper and full public consultation.

But the Government was criticised by the Liberal Democrats for omitting targets for energy efficiency or the use of renewable energy. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Trade and Industry spokesman, said: "The sentiment of this paper is welcome but the draft is woefully short of detail."

The Prime Minister is expected to reiterate the Government's commitment to tackling climate change in a speech on sustainable development on Monday.

Comments