Coalition urged to focus on low-carbon economy

By staff writers
May 13, 2010

Friends of the Earth have called on the new government to take urgent action to create a low carbon-economy. The environmental NGO said that this must a key priority for the coalition which has taken power this week.

They added that promises to develop a greener future are a significant area of common ground in the manifestos of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party, who have formed a coalition after no party received an overall majority in the general election.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) insist that this common ground must form the basis of a carbon-cutting strategy in the Queen's Speech and the Budget.

"Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have promised to develop a low-carbon future,” said FoE's Executive Director, Andy Atkins, “Our new coalition Government is a golden opportunity to make this a reality and reap the enormous economic benefits of investing in green energy and slashing energy waste”.

Atkins added, "The Queen's Speech and Budget must contain significant measures to tackle climate change and demonstrate that the new Government has the determination to lead the country towards a greener future”.

FoE said that the very minimum level of environmental commitment from the new government would involve a Queen's Speech with two new “green laws”. These would be an Energy Bill to boost green energy development, and a Housing and Local Government Bill to deliver more energy-efficient homes and ensure local councils play their part in cutting emissions by establishing local carbon budgets.

The group also urged the government to include the establishment of a Green Investment Bank in the Budget, along with a fund to create new green jobs and the introduction of a supermarket regulator.

FoE welcomed the coalition's commitment to scrapping plans for the extension of Heathrow airport.

But they would like to see a new law which will tackle the greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation caused by the UK's dependence on imported feeds for meat and dairy. FoE say that this will also support better UK farming and domestic feed production.

And they insist that the UK must play a leading role in securing an international agreement on cutting emissions where those responsible make the deepest cuts first, and developing countries are supported to grow in a low-carbon way.

“The starting point must be a tougher target for tackling climate change,” said Atkins, “Our new ministers must agree to cut UK emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020 - the minimum scientists say is needed to play our part in preventing dangerous climate change”.


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