UK to lead the world with 20% cut in emissions by 2010

The UK Deputy Prime Minister has published a draft climate change policy that would commit the country to achieving greenhouse gas (ghg) emission reduction targets that go beyond any other nation's goals.

John Prescott, accompanied by Environment Minister Michael Meacher, introduced the programme with allusions to the “extreme weather events” that have become more frequent across Europe and globally. Instead of simply seeking to meet the UK’s commitment to reduce its ghg emissions by the 12.5% on 1990 levels required under the Kyoto Protocol, Prescott explained that a reduction of 20% would be expected by 2010.

By exceeding its Kyoto commitment, the UK would be in a position to sell its excess ghg reduction credits to countries, such as the US, that are unlikely to meet their Kyoto targets through domestic efforts.

Although the early 1990s saw a large reduction in the UK’s ghg emissions – the result of a switch from coal to gas electricity generation – the country’s growing economy and increasing transport emissions are leading to rises in ghg emission levels once again. Prescott says that the Government’s package of measures will control this rise and reverse it.

The policies to reduce ghg emissions will include:

  • introduction of the climate change levy (see related story)
  • impact of the EU’s Integrated Pollution Prevention & Control directive for large industrial installations (see related story)
  • emissions trading on a domestic and EU level
  • increasing market share of renewable energies to 10% by 2010 (see,a href=””> related story)
  • doubling the capacity for combined heat & power generation by 2010 (see article in European section of this edition of edie news
  • improvement in fuel efficiency of new cars by a minimum of 25% by 2008-2009 following the EU’s voluntary agreement with manufacturers
  • changes to transport taxation
  • requirement to improve residential energy efficiency, particularly for the elderly and those on low incomes
  • targets for improving energy efficiency of public buildings
  • policies to reduce emissions from agriculture & forestry

Consultation on the draft policy will close on 2 June. Just one day before the UK published its draft climate change policy, the European Commission began its consultation on the EU-wide climate change policy (see article in the Europe section of this edition of edie news).

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