After months of intense pressure, the British government will today agree plans for a Climate Change bill setting new long-term targets to cut carbon emissions in Britain.
Although an independent body will be set up to advise the government on how best to achieve the targets, the government is resisting the idea of a law requiring a cut in carbon emissions year on year, arguing instead for specific targets for each decade.
In a speech today, Environment Secretary David Miliband, will outline the plans as well as pursue international climate talks. Yesterday the British foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, warned that “the world is on the path to climate chaos”.
The government’s move follows growing cross-party pressure, led by environmental groups, for a climate change bill amid evidence that Britain’s C02 emissions have grown under the Blair government. Over More than 400 MPs, including the Conservative and Liberal Democrat frontbenches, have backed the calls which they say should include a commitment to year on year C02 reductions.
For environmental groups the move does not go far enough: Tony Juniper, head of Friends of the Earth, also called for legally binding targets for reductions of about 3% a year.
“We very much welcome the fact that the government has responded to the broad-based campaign that called for a new climate change law,” said Mr Juniper. “But if the UK is serious about tackling the problem and about being a world leader, then there has to be something in law that places a commitment on the government to do something in the short term.”