The target, agreed at an EU meeting in Luxembourg, means a cutback in the UK's emissions to 12.5 per cent below their 1990 level by 2010.
This will inevitably mean less car use, a substantial increase in electricity- saving by industry and home-owners, and more reliance on alternative energy sources, such as solar power.
The forthcoming transport White Paper being planned by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, will be the key instrument in delivering the necessary motoring cutbacks. These will be achieved through a combination of higher fuel taxes and better public transport. A substantial Government campaign on energy efficiency can be expected soon.