Climate change: 10 ways to save the world

Today, Tony Blair will address energy ministers from around the world on tackling climate change. But he is failing to meet his own targets, with British carbon emissions on the rise again. There are, though, measures he could adopt...
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The Independent Online

1: SET LEGALLY BINDING ANNUAL CO 2 REDUCTION TARGETS

New law to commit the Government to reducing CO 2 every year by a fixed amount - say, 3 per cent - audited by an independent body. A radical programme would then have to be implemented to meet the target.

2: DECENTRALISE THE ENERGY SUPPLY SYSTEM

Do away with the vast power stations serving the national grid: think microgeneration. Give every city, every town, every village, its own power station, fitted with a combined heat and power (CHP) system, which cuts CO 2

3: ALL NEW BUILDINGS TO BE CO 2-FREE

Put a power station in every basement: change building regulations to make all new buildings provide their own power, with solar panels, mini-wind turbines and CHP systems to soak up wasted heat.

4: INSIST ON USE OF ENERGY-EFFICIENT LIGHT BULBS

Ban standard light bulbs all over Britain and force us to use energy-saving bulbs instead, which soak up less than a quarter of the electricity. Hugely symbolic gesture which would save enormous quantities of CO 2.

5: BOOST NEGLECTED RENEWABLES; SOLAR, WAVE, TIDE POWER

Start giving proper funding and backing to renewable energy other than wind: solar power, and power from the waves and tides. These have vast potential to supply CO 2-free electricity, yet are underdeveloped.

6: FOCUS AGAIN ON OFFSHORE WIND POWER

Renew the impetus behind wind farms based in the sea with £1bn of subsidy: after a good start, development is slowing, because of technical and financial difficulties, yet we have unparalleled offshore wind resources.

7: GET RADICAL WITH ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Make sure every house in Britain that can be properly insulated is insulated; bring in much more rigorous labelling that can enable any consumer to see how much energy is used by a product.

8: TACKLE THE GAS GUZZLERS

Raise vehicle excise duty (VED) on cars such as 4x4s; make it more than £1,000 per vehicle and set it to rise further. If you want to be radical, insist on a health warning on the side: This Vehicle Damages The Environment.

9: CURB THE GROWTH IN CHEAP FLIGHTS

Raise air passenger duty to end the cheap flight bonanza, as CO 2 emissions from aircraft are the most rapidly rising in Britain and also the most damaging: they go straight into the stratosphere. A vote loser and a tough choice.

10: HAVE A LATE-NIGHT TALK WITH GEORGE BUSH

Do anything you can to get George Bush to change his mind about climate change. The world needs America, the biggest CO 2 emitter, to lead the fight against global warming. The President is denying the evidence.

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