UK climate bill criticized

Published: Saturday 15 December 2007

a climate change bill, proposed on March 13, 2007, to give legal sanctions to emissions caps, was recently tabled in the uk. The bill sets to reduce co2 emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2050 and 26-32 per cent by 2020, relative to 1990 levels (see 'First off the block', Down To Earth, April 15, 2007). A committee on climate change will be set up to guide the government in achieving its targets. Each year it will submit to parliament a report outlining the progress. The committee will be responsible for deciding whether the 2050 target needs to be raised, and if other greenhouse gases and emissions from international aviation and shipping need to be included.

The bill includes a system of five year 'carbon budgets', set 15 years ahead, to give clarity to investors and policymakers. The bill allows the introduction new trading schemes through secondary legislation thus increasing options to meet emission targets.

However, there have been calls for tougher measures from some groups. I Count, uk's campaign on climate change, while welcoming the review, called for at least 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050. Friends of the Earth said it was "ludicrous" that the government intended to set a carbon budget based on targets that are "out of date" and "under review".

The bill is now in the House of Lords, and it is expected to become law by early summer 2008.

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