UK’s groundbreaking Climate Change Bill

18 November 2007

"My government is committed to protecting the environment and to tackling climate change, both at home and abroad," the Queen said. "A bill will be brought forward to make the United Kingdom the first country in the world to introduce a legally binding framework to reduce carbon dioxide emissions."


The bill would enforce reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 60% by 2050 and 26-32% by 2020, and introduce a new system of five-year carbon budgets.


It would also establish a new independent committee on climate change, which would advise the government on achieving the 2050 target and set out a sustainable programme of adaption.


The government said the bill would increase confidence and certainty for business planning and the investment in technology needed to move towards a low-carbon economy.


It would "create a new approach to managing and responding to climate change in the UK through setting ambitious targets, taking powers to help achieve them, strengthening the institutional framework, and establishing clear and regular accountability to parliament".


The introduction of the bill would enhance the operation of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), which is expected to deliver significant carbon savings from the road transport sector by increasing the use of bio fuels, the government said.


It would also provide a power to pilot local authority incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling, and "provide a strong, sustainable framework for adapting to the impacts of climate change in the UK".


Environmental groups welcomed the introduction of the legislation but urged the government to go even further and look to make cuts of 80% by 2050.


Friends of the Earth director, Tony Juniper, said: "We're delighted that the UK is set to become the first nation to introduce legislation to cut its contribution to climate change. But the government must strengthen its proposed legislation if it is to be truly effective and deliver the scale of action that scientists are now calling for."


He called for yearly targets for cuts which would deliver at least an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, and include Britain's share of emissions from international aviation and shipping.



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