Letter: UK's failure over global warming

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The Independent Online
UK's failure over global warming

Sir: Dr Patrick Green of Friends of the Earth (letter, 6 March) is quite right that the European Union's decisions on global warming are not as radical as your original article made them appear.

Labour strongly supported the first proposals from the Dutch presidency, which would have committed to the EU to a reduction of 8 per cent in CO2 emissions by 2005 and 12 per cent by 2010.

The UK's share of this obligation would have required us to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2010, precisely the figure set out by Labour in its environment policy document In Trust for Tomorrow.

This target was removed from the statement issued after the EU Environment Council, on the insistence of John Gummer, who then had the cheek to present the final statement as another green triumph for his government!

The truth is that Mr Gummer will not offer any UK targets beyond those that will be achieved without government intervention, largely as a result of the destruction of our coal industry.

Labour remains committed to its In Trust for Tomorrow targets. We will promote green public transport, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources.

Waiting for the rest of the world to agree with us on the need for action is an abdication of responsibility. Britain can and must lead the way, with our partners in Europe, towards a green future.


(Oldham West, Lab)

Shadow Secretary of State for Environmental Protection

House of Commons

London SW1