Government to ‘strive’ towards low carbon without credits

The Government has committed itself to tough long-term carbon reduction targets and promised to 'strive' to meet them without resorting to trading with other countries.

In a joint press conference today (15 July) business secretary Peter Mandleson and climate change minister Ed Miliband announced a broad spectrum of measures intended to boost the economy as well as cut carbon.

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan aim is, according to Mr Miliband, to create a ‘road map to 2020’ by which time the government hopes to have cut 34% of emissions compared to 1990 levels.

However, with recent progress 21% of the targets have already been achieved leaving some to suggest the government has not gone far enough.

Not so according to Mr Miliband, who said: “These targets can be described as many things, but easy is certainly not one of them.

“We will strive to meet them domestically that is the plan … we’re legally binded to buy credits if we fail.”

Mr Miliband aims to achieve the cuts through getting 40% of electricity from low carbon sources, from renewable nuclear power and also what he termed ‘clean coal.’

He also hopes to cut gas importation and points to the fact new cars will emit 40% less carbon then now, however he could not say if he expected vehicle number to fall or continue to rise.

Each government department is now also under orders to slash their own carbon emissions to help towards the targets with Mr Milliband joking any section to fail would have ‘to answer to Peter Mandelson.’

Mr Miliband has also earmarked up to £6m to start development of a smart grid in an initiative seen as a way to allow consumers who generate an excess of renewable to sell it back to the power companies.

The secretary of state also announced plans to strip Ofgem of the responsibility for establishing new power grid access scheme, which will now be taken over by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Green mortgages referred to as ‘pay as you save’ were announced along with £4m of funding from the low carbon investment fund – something Mr milliband believes could lead to the creation of some 34,000 jobs.

The government is now also searching for 15 villages, towns or cities to become test beds for piloting green initiatives.

Lord Mandleson added: “The UK is already the sixth largest economy for low carbon good and services, globally worth £3trillion and growing.

“We must combine the dynamism of the private sector with a strategic role for the government to deliver the benefits of innovation, growth and job creation in the UK.”

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Luke Walsh

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