Climate Change Bill ‘strengthened’

The Government's Climate Change Bill will be amended to increase transparency and accountability, ministers have announced.

Environment secretary Hilary Benn revealed the changes to the draft legislation on Monday following a three-month public consultation.

The Bill will make the UK the first country to introduce legally-binding targets to reduce emissions, and ministers hope it will inspire other nations to follow suit.

Mr Benn confirmed Gordon Brown’s announcement last month that the target of reducing emissions by 60% by 2050 will now be reviewed by the Committee on Climate Change which will be established by the Bill.

The committee will also be asked to examine whether shipping and aviation emissions should be included in the UK’s targets.

Government will have to report regularly to Parliament and explain to MPs if it does not accept the committee’s advice or meet targets. The committee’s advice and minutes will also be made public.

Announcing the changes, Mr Benn said it was vital everyone played their part in reducing the impact of climate change.

He said: “We just need to look each other in the eye and say ‘I will if you will’.

“We just need to look at the world we will bequeath to the next generation and say ‘what would I not do for my children?'”

The Bill will also, as originally planned, introduce a new cap and trade scheme to cut the emissions of larger companies not already covered under existing schemes.

Following the announcement, campaign groups urged minister to immediately increase the 2050 target to 80% and to include shipping and aviation emissions from the outset.

David Nasbaum, director of WWF UK, said: “If we stick at 60%, the world faces a high probability of global warming increasing by four degrees.”

He added that failing to include aviation emissions would be like “going on a diet and saying you can eat as much chocolate as you like”.

The criticisms were echoed by organisations such as Friends of the Earth and the Stop Climate Chaos coalition – which on Monday delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street calling for an 80% target and action to tackle aviation and shipping emissions.

Kate Martin

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