Brown reveals climate change plans

Gordon Brown has laid out his plans to reduce the effects of climate change in his first major speech on the environment since taking over from Tony Blair earlier this year.

The Prime Minister pledged to put the UK at the forefront of the fight against global warming and urged other world leaders to show “vision and determination”.

He revealed one of his major goals will be to eliminate plastic carrier bags, which he said was “one of the most visible symbols of environmental waste”.

The need to switch to more renewable sources of energy and carbon capture and storage was also underlined in the speech, but and Mr Brown would not rule out the possibility of using more nuclear energy.

He also repeated the aims of the Climate Change Bill, which was published last week, and will require at least a 60% cut in carbon emissions by 2050, and by 26-32% by 2020.

Mr Brown said: “Our mission is, in truth, historic and world changing – to build, over the next fifty years and beyond, a global low carbon economy.

“And it is not overdramatic to say that the character and course of the coming century will be set by how we measure up to this challenge.”

He added: “All of us – government, business, civil society and individuals – have a part to play.

“Working apart we will surely fail. But working together I have no doubt that this is a challenge to which the human spirit, and our powers of ingenuity and enterprise, will rise.”

He said that by 2050, Britain would need to produce less than half its current emissions in an economy expected to be two and a half times bigger than today.

Other plans outlined in the speech included pressing the EU to set a target of making all cars reduce their emissions to just 100grams per kilometre by 2025 at the latest and tightening planning regulations in a bid to increase energy efficiency in buildings.

Mr Brown also stressed the importance of stimulating more sustainable forms of transport and the use of biofuels.

Campaign groups welcomed the announcements, but said Mr Brown’s words must be matched by action.

Kate Martin

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