Tony Blair’s Government may be forced by opposition MPs to adopt tougher targets to reduce carbon emissions in order to step up its fight against climate change. A Tory policy review group favours an 80 per cent reduction which is much tougher than Government’s goal of cutting emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.  

Blair’s Ministers are worried that such a move would put Labour on the defensive and allow the Tory leader, David Cameron, to make the running on the issue. They fear that many Labour MPs and the Liberal Democrats would vote in favour of an 80 per cent cut, which could result in an embarrassing defeat for the Government.

The Tories are said to be drawing up specific measures for achieving an 80 per cent reduction so they can head off a Labour charge of resorting to “gesture politics.” “We believe that the UK goal of a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 is likely to be proved inadequate. Our policy work is therefore directed at how we can reduce emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, without sacrificing quality of life or competitiveness,” said the Tory group.