Government considers Bill to cut emissions

A A A

The Government may bow to mounting pressure from green groups and opposition parties by bringing in a Climate Change Bill.

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, is considering what a new law might achieve and there are growing signs that legislation may be included in the Queen's Speech on 15 November. Although no final decision has been taken, options include setting up an independent system to monitor progress in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and implementing measures in the Government's energy review, which will pave the way for a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Mr Miliband wants to ensure the proposed Bill has teeth and is more than just "gesture politics".

However, the move is unlikely to go as far as the Tories and Liberal Democrats have demanded. Ministers remain opposed to setting annual targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, saying they might be unworkable because of unforeseen circumstances such as a rise in gas prices which would push electricity companies into using more coal.

The Government also opposes a call by Friends of the Earth for ministers to be fined for missing environmental targets.

Yesterday Mr Miliband called for a cross-party consensus on tackling the threat to the planet. He told the Commons: "Climate change requires change right across society, from government, from individuals and from business. All these changes have met with scepticism, all with opposition, but they were right. Now we need to go further. We will do so, and I look forward to support from across the House in this drive."

He said the facts about climate change were "more alarming and the need for action more urgent than previously thought". He said carbon dioxide levels were higher than at any time for the past 740,000 years, 10 of the warmest years since 1850 had occurred since 1990, and global temperatures could rise by up to 5.8C by the end of the century.

Peter Ainsworth, the shadow Environment Secretary, was "delighted" the Government appeared to have shifted its opposition to a Bill. He said: "We need rolling annual carbon reduction targets to be agreed in Parliament; an independent body to assess the science and make recommendations as that evolves; and an annual report to Parliament to ensure ministers and civil servants are accountable."

But he faced charges of double standards after saying Tory MPs could oppose plans to build wind farms in their constituencies despite the party's support for renewable energy.

Mr Ainsworth insisted: "Individual members of parliament have a duty to represent their constituents' interests where they are affected by infrastructure projects of any kind.

"Conservative members are perfectly at liberty to take a view about proposals in their own constituencies. It doesn't actually affect Conservative Party policy."

Chris Huhne, said the Government liked to "talk the talk" on climate change but its policy was disjointed and dysfunctional.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'