Huhne announces 2027 GHG target

Under pressure energy minister, Chris Huhne, survived a rocky exchange with rival MPs as he outlined far reaching emissions reduction measures.

The Lib Dem minister, is currently the subject of a police investigation into allegations he asked someone to take speeding points for him.

It was initially stated details of the fourth carbon budget would be announced in writing, but shadow energy and climate change secretary, Meg Hillier, said that would ‘beggar belief’.

Mr Huhne had also managed to win a behind the scenes battle with business secretary Vince Cable and treasury chief George Osborne to get the proposals before parliament.

The energy minister backed the views of the Committee on Climate Change as he spoke in parliament today (May 17).

A limit on the total amount of greenhouse gases to be emitted by the UK between 2023-to-2027 has been proposed to cut Britain’s emissions by 50% from 1990 levels and highlighting the Government’s commitment to being the greenest government ever.

The proposal sets a fourth carbon budget of 1950 MtCO2e covering 2023 to 2027, putting the UK on course to cut emissions by at least 80% by 2050, but will a review of progress was also added in for 2014 linked to progress or, the lack of by in other European Union countries.

According to Mr Huhne the Government will continue to argue for an EU-wide move to a 30% target for 2020, and ambitious action in the 2020s.

And, before the end of this year will announce a package of measures to reduce the impact of government policy on the cost of electricity for energy intensive industries and to help them adjust to the low-carbon industrial transformation.

Mr Huhne said: “Today’s announcement will give investors the certainty they need to invest in clean energy.

“It puts Britain at the leading edge of a new global industrial transformation as well as making good our determination that this will be the greenest government ever.

“The Coalition Government has set a fourth carbon budget level, in line with the advice from the Committee on Climate Change that sends a clear signal about our determination to transform Britain permanently into a low carbon economy.

“By cutting emissions we’re also getting ourselves off the oil hook, making our energy supplies more secure and opening up opportunities for jobs in the new green industries of the future.

Before the announcement the UK already had the most ambitious carbon cutting targets in Europe with a 34% reduction targeted by 2020 from 1990 levels.

Ironically, Mr Huhne’s announcement was followed by a ten minute rule bill discussing dangerous driving.

Reaction to the announcement was positive with WSP Environment & Energy director, David Symons, said: “The Government has everything to gain from signing up to a long-term 2027 greenhouse gas reduction target, but the move to tighten existing 2020 reduction targets seems unlikely.

“The Committee on Climate Change recommended a tighter 2020 target to factor in the impact of the recession. But, given that UK carbon emissions actually went up by four per cent last year, this option looks much less feasible.

“If the Government signs up to the proposed 2027 targets while retaining existing 2020 goals, it can create long-term certainty, which will encourage investment in carbon reduction, while buying itself some wriggle room.”

And, Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: “Despite the fact customers will ultimately foot the bill, we’re still in the dark about the impact of new targets for carbon emissions on our energy bills.

“We urgently need more clarity from the Government about how much this will cost, how that cost will be passed on to consumers and whether it will be capped.”

Luke Walsh

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