Bill signals legally-binding emissions targets

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Indy Politics

The Queen's Speech includes a Climate Change Bill which would make the UK the first country in the world to introduce legally-binding targets for emissions cuts.

The Bill would enforce reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 60% by 2050 and 26-32% by 2020, and would set five- year carbon budgets.

The Bill would also create a new independent Committee on Climate Change, which would advise the Government on achieving the 2050 target and ensure leaders set out sustainable plans for adaptation to the effects of global warming.

Although the Climate Change Bill provides for emissions cuts of 60% on 1990 levels by 2050, Gordon Brown has already said he will be asking the committee to assess whether more stringent reductions are needed to prevent dangerous temperature rises.

Environmentalists have welcomed the introduction of the legislation but have urged the Government to go even further.

A report from think tank IPPR, the RSPB and WWF published yesterday claimed the 60% target was inadequate and the country could achieve an 80% cut by 2050.

And Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said: "We're delighted that the UK is set to become the first nation to introduce legislation to cut its contribution to climate change.

"But the Government must strengthen its proposed legislation if it is to be truly effective and deliver the scale of action that scientists are now calling for."

He called for yearly targets for cuts, a reduction of 80% by mid-century and the inclusion of international aviation and shipping - which are currently not covered by the Bill.

The Queen's Speech also includes an Energy Bill, which the Government said is intended to help reduce emissions while providing the UK with a secure supply of energy.

The Bill would facilitate private investment in offshore gas supply projects and carbon capture and storage, and strengthen the Renewables Obligation to boost renewable energy in the UK.

The Energy Bill also has provisions to fund the decommissioning and waste management of nuclear power stations if a decision is taken to allow private investment in new facilities.

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