ENVIRONMENT Threat to greenhouse gas targets

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The Independent Online
Government targets for cuts in CO2 emission levels appear doomed, according to a report published today. According to Cambridge Econometrics, demands for power generation and more road transport mean that emissions are forecast to rise over the next five to 10 years and will only begin to fall after the year 2008.

The warning comes as ministers are preparing a strategy to persuade motorists to leave their cars at home and instead use trains, buses and bicycles.

Tony Blair's landmark speech in June at the Earth Summit Two conference in New York pledged to cut CO2 by 20 per cent by 2010. However, today's report warned that by 2010 total emissions were expected to be less than 4 per cent below the 1990 levels.

Charlie Hargreaves, Cambridge Econometrics' energy-environment analyst, said that more could be done to improve insulation in British homes and save energy. "Housing stock in the UK is by far and away the worst in Europe for insulation. The Chancellor could have cut VAT on insulating material to 5 per cent in the Budget, but he didn't. This would only have cost the Treasury around pounds 10m and is something he certainly should be considering next time." Claire White