Climate Change Bill 'falls short of the mark'

By staff writers
November 7, 2007

A Catholic aid agency has welcomed plans for the Climate Change Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech yesterday, but says standards within it must be higher than currently being proposed.

CAFOD welcomed the UK government's "leadership" on climate change and the introduction of a strong and effective framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but said the current plan still "falls short of the mark".

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has said he will be putting forward a "tougher, more effective and more transparent" bill to help tackle climate change.

He says the revised Bill, which was formally announced in the Queen's Speech, will commit to reviewing whether the current target of a 60% reduction should be stronger still and will also look at the impact of including aviation.

However CAFOD considers these changes are needed now and that any delay weakens the strength of the Bill, which will make the UK the first country to put carbon emissions reduction targets into law.

George Gelber, CAFOD's head of policy, said: "Current plans for the Climate Change Bill are not strong enough and ignore the scientific evidence and key recommendations from all three parliamentary committees that reviewed the draft Bill.

"The weakness of the current Climate Change Bill means it is the equivalent of insulating a house then leaving the windows open.

"Only by introducing the strongest possible legal framework for reducing UK greenhouse emission will Gordon Brown demonstrate as Prime Minister he will ensure the UK takes an international lead on climate change.

"The UK needs to commit to reducing carbon emissions by at least 80 (not 60) per cent by 2050 if we are going to move towards stabilising global temperature warming at 2°C whilst sending a clear signal to the world that the UK takes climate change seriously.

"Climate change projections show that developing countries will be worst affected by climate change and within them it will be the poorest people who suffer most.

"They have done the least to cause the problem and have fewest resources to adapt. Slowing and ultimately halting climate change is essential if the government's good work in fighting poverty is not to be undermined by rising global temperatures."

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