Morley delays climate change strategy review as emissions grow

Environment Minister Elliot Morley has delayed the launch of the revised Climate Change Programme until the end of the year as the government struggles to keep emissions under control.

The revised programme was due to be unveiled at the end of this month and should form a central part of delivering the UK emissions reduction commitments.

However, speaking at a two-day carbon trading conference in London, Mr Morley said that more time was required to take into account other pieces of ongoing work such as the Energy Efficiency Innovation Review and commitments in the 2005 Budget such as carbon capture and storage.

“The revised timetable will also allow us to take into greater consideration the level of the cap for the second phase of the EU emissions trading scheme which is occurring in parallel to the Climate Change Programme review,” he said.

He stressed that the UK was still committed to achieving its goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010.

However, this goal seems increasingly unattainable. Recent figures have shown that emissions from the UK are in fact increasing (see related story) and that a cut of 11 to 14% was a more likely outcome.

The emissions rise was recorded across most of the EU (see related story) and has been attributed to increasing use of coal for energy production as gas prices soar worldwide.

Despite this, the UK is still on track to meet its Kyoto commitments. Publishing a revised climate change programme highlighting its slipping record during Britain’s presidency of the G8, however, could be extremely embarrassing.

By David Hopkins

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