Emissions targets aren’t tough enough, says Commons committee

A new report by the Environmental Audit Committee warns that domestic emission reductions will be futile without a global climate deal. It calls for 42% reductions.

A new report published by the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee warns that domestic emission reductions will be futile without a global climate deal. After the failure of the Copenhagen talks last month, the international community is pinning it’s hopes on the talks in Mexico scheduled for the end of this year to deliver a legally-binding deal.

Looking at the UK’s progress in achieving it’s domestic targets, the report claims that the Government is only on track towards achieving the first carbon budget because of the impact of the recession. The UK is the first country in the world with a carbon budget, but emissions are currently falling by only about 1 per cent per year, instead of the 2 to 3 per cent per year which the Committee say is needed.

However, despite the need for international action the Committee does call on the Government to redouble its efforts, so that Britain can become a standard bearer for other nations in how to build a low-carbon economy.

The Conservative MP, Tim Yeo, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee commented, “The slower our progress; the less credibility we will have internationally.”

To achieve the necessary changes, the Committee is calling on the Government to:

• Invest in new emission reductions that go well beyond what is currently regarded as politically possible.

• Work to peak global emissions as soon as possible, at least by 2020.

• Move the domestic target to 42 per cent by 2020 following scientific models, whether or not the EU target moves up to 30 per cent from 20 per cent.

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