NEW BILL AND STRATEGY LAY FOUNDATIONS FOR TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE
The draft Climate Change Bill, the first of its kind in any country was today set out by Environment Secretary David Miliband (pictured).
The draft Climate Change Bill and accompanying strategy, set out a framework for moving the UK to a low-carbon economy. Thus demonstrating the UK's leadership as progress continues towards establishing a post-2012 global emissions agreement.
Key points of the draft bill include:
- A series of clear targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions - including making the UK's targets for a 60 per cent reduction by 2050 and a 26 to 32 per cent reduction by 2020 legally binding.
- A new system of legally binding five year "carbon budgets", set at least 15 years ahead, to provide clarity on the UK's pathway towards its key targets and increase the certainty that businesses and individuals need to invest in low-carbon technologies.
- A new statutory body, the Committee on Climate Change, to provide independent expert advice and guidance to Government on achieving its targets and staying within its carbon budgets.
- New powers to enable the Government to more easily implement policies to cut emissions.
- A new system of annual open and transparent reporting to Parliament. The Committee on Climate Change will provide an independent progress report to which the Government must respond. This will ensure the Government is held to account every year on its progress towards each five year carbon budget and the 2020 and 2050 targets.
- A requirement for Government to report at least every five years on current and predicted impacts of climate change and on its proposals and policy for adapting to climate change.
The draft bill will be subject to a full public consultation alongside pre-legislative scrutiny in Parliament.
The strategy paper sets out how the Climate Change Bill fits into the Government's wider international strategy and a range of future domestic policies to achieve its aims.
It argues that all sectors of society will have to contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, but that this does not mean a reduction in standards of living.
It sets out a vision for how the UK can move to a low carbon economy including:
- Investment in low-carbon fuels and technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, wind, wave and solar power.
- Significantly more efficient use of energy.
- A step change in the way energy suppliers operate so that they focus on reducing demand rather than just supplying as much energy as possible.
- Consumers becoming producers as well as consumers of energy
David Miliband said:
"With climate change we can't just close our eyes and cross our fingers. We need to step up our action to tackle it, building on our considerable progress so far. And time isn't on our side.
Ecofreak Comment :
In the past I have called on the Government to do 'their bit' otherwise us all doing 'our bit' is pointless. Well, now it seems they realise that action needs to be taken. The cynics amongst you may say that the only thing they realise is that enough of the UK populous is concerned about the state of the global environment to warrant policies that will secure their vote; of course I would never draw such an uncharitable conclusion.
In any event it appears that a stance is being taken on global warming and most of the points being proposed seem eminently sensible. I see many eco-pundits are shouting that it's not enough, however, it is a start and I for one think it should be welcomed.
Source : Government Press Release. Crown copyright material reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.