UK Environment Secretary David Miliband set out a legal framework for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The draft Climate Change Bill and accompanying strategy makes the UK’s targets for a 60% reduction by 2050 and a 26 to 32% reduction by 2020 legally binding.
A new system of legally binding five year “carbon budgets”, set at least 15 years ahead, are 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.
The bill proposes the establishment of 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.
The bill also provides the Government with new powers to enable it to more easily implement policies to cut emissions.
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.
The Government will have 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.
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.—David Miliband
An accompanying strategy paper sets out how the Climate Change Bill fits into the Government’ss wider international strategy and suggests a range of future domestic policies to achieve its aims, 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.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in 2006 signed an agreement with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to become partners and to act “aggressively” to address climate change and promote energy diversity (earlier post), immediately supported the move.
I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Tony Blair for taking this historic step to do in Great Britain at the national level what California is doing at the state level. The Prime Minister has been an inspiration to California as we have taken our own historic steps to fight greenhouse gases with the Global Warming Solutions Act. His leadership has shown us that we can protect the environment without harming the economy. Great Britain has already successfully reduced its greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels while at the same time growing their economy by 38 percent.
California is proudly partnering with Great Britain to fight climate change and I look forward to advancing our efforts and linking our regional trading schemes so we can create a global carbon market.—Gov. Schwarzenegger