Greg Barker in carbon emissions target call


Britain should boost its carbon emissions reduction target to 30%, a Government minister said today - but only if Europe does the same.

Greg Barker said the low carbon trading price in Europe opened the door to the continent to exceed its 2020 target of a 20% reduction in emissions.

The Climate Change Minister is due to attend talks next week where he will bid to persuade his European counterparts to go beyond their earlier commitments.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Barker said there needed to be a "strong carbon price" to encourage businesses to invest in clean technology.

He said: "The emissions trading scheme has seen the price of carbon fall almost to record lows because of the turmoil in Europe.

"There is plenty of scope for us to increase that level of ambition and push up the carbon price and still do it in a way that is good for business and gives long-term certainty but doesn't actually harm our competitiveness.

"We would be saying we have got to do more and that would have a positive impact on the price of carbon and reduce the amount of credit in circulation."

Mr Barker said Chancellor George Osborne backed the idea as he had been one of the "original cheer leaders" for carbon emissions trading.

But he said Britain would not move unilaterally to increase the target.

Mr Barker said: "We are going to comfortably exceed our 2020 emissions target as things stand, which is 20%. We think we are in a good position to raise that level of ambition to 30%.

"We want to do that in conjunction with the rest of Europe. We are working not just on the environmental case but the economic case, looking at the huge growth in low carbon and clean technology not just in Europe but around the world.

"We need to be a cleaner economy."