New climate committee to size up 60% target

Economists and scientists have become the first members of an independent committee being established to provide advice on how the UK can meet its climate change goals.

Meteorologist and climatologist Sir Brian Hoskins, ecologist Lord Robert May, Professor Jim Skea, the research director at the UK Energy Research Centre, economist Dr Samuel Fankhauser, and Professor Michael Grubb, the chief economist at the Carbon Trust, were named as the first appointees to the Climate Change Committee.

The committee, which is being set up under the terms of the Climate Change Bill will offer ministers advice on methods to achieve the Bill‘s target of at least 60% cuts in CO2 emissions by 2050.

But more importantly, it will be asked to review the controversial target to see whether it should be tightened up to 80%, and whether shipping and aviation emissions should be included, as environmental groups have argued.

The committee, which is being chaired by businessman and academic Lord Jonathan Adair Turner, will also report annually to Parliament on the UK’s progress towards meeting its emissions reduction targets.

Lord Turner said: “The committee will play a crucial role in our efforts towards achieving a low-carbon economy.

“I am delighted to chair a committee of such distinguished experts.”

Friends of the Earth – one of the groups which is calling for an 80% target – welcomed the announcement of the committee members.

Parliamentary campaigner Martyn Williams said: “It is clear this is going to be a serious and heavyweight committee, which is much needed if we are to keep future Governments under pressure to bring down emissions from the UK.

“What is now needed is for the Climate Change Bill to be amended to ensure that this committee can advise on a target that takes all emissions into account, including those from aviation and shipping.”

Further appointments to the committee will be made after the Climate Change Bill has become law. Appointments will be made for a duration of five years.

Kate Martin

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