Letter: Britain must take action on climate change

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The Independent Online
Sir: Whilst John Gummer must be congratulated for barking at the heels of other countries to move faster in the climate negotiations, he is treading on very thin ice when he implies that the UK's climate record is beyond reproach ("UK meets Rio targets on emissions", 19 February).

Not only has the Government's climate change programme failed to slow growth in energy use but its policies on fossil fuel exploration and production are encouraging the opening up of new areas of oil reserves.

Within weeks of reporting on our climate policies to the UN, the Government plan to approve oil exploration licences to over 22,000 square miles of the Atlantic to the west of the UK. This is despite the fact that the science tells us that 90 per cent of all oil resources will have to stay in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.

Until the Government takes action to address the contradiction between its climate commitments and its headlong dash into oil, Mr Gummer's bark will be very much louder than his bite at this year's international climate negotiations.

MATTHEW SPENCER

Climate campaigner

Greenpeace

London N1

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