EEF warns against higher emission cuts

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The EEF, the organisation that represents the UK manufacturing industry, will today urge the Government to reject the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee, which it says would saddle the country with unrealistic targets that are much more demanding than anything faced elsewhere in Europe.

It said the committee's "carbon budget", published before Christmas, would require Britain to cut carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2020, half as much again as the target agreed by the EU.

Terry Scuoler, the EEF's chief executive, said: "The UK is already committed to some of the toughest carbon targets but committing to ploughing a lone furrow without international agreement will damage our economy for little or no environmental benefit."

The warning comes as the Prime Minister, David Cameron, ponders whether to accept the recommendations of the independent committee, as the last government did as a matter of course.

The committee's carbon budget sets out the next stage of targets for Britain, for the years from 2023 to 2027, but the EEF said that in order to have any chance of achieving the emission reductions recommended, Britain would have to be at 30 per cent by 2020.

In fact, the European Commission is widely expected to raise its 20 per cent target in the coming weeks – either to 25 per cent, or possibly to 30 per cent. But the EEF said the economic slump had hit the ambitions of continental rivals and that moving alone would put the UK at risk of being disadvantaged.