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Low carbon fuels key part of proposed climate change bill

Today Britain became the first country to announce plans to set a “legally binding” target to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. And investment in low carbon fuels was highlighted as a key element of the strategy towards developing a low-carbon economy.

The draft Climate Change Bill calls for “carbon budgets” to be set every five years and for ministers to give annual progress reports on cutting emissions.

At the launch of the draft bill, Mr Miliband said: “With climate change we can’t just close our eyes and cross our fingers. We need to step up our action to tackle it, building on our considerable progress so far. And time isn’t on our side.”

He added: “Government must rightly lead from the front on this, but we want everyone – the public, industry, Parliament – to have their say to help us ensure that the bill really delivers.”
Draft Bill Key Points:

  • Targets to reduce carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 and between 26% and 32% by 2020
  • Greater energy efficiency, with more consumers becoming “producers” of their own energy at home
  • Investment in low-carbon fuels and technologies (such as carbon capture and storage, wind, wave and solar power)
  • Carbon “budgets” – which cap emissions levels – set every five years
  • The government reporting annually to Parliament on its progress in controlling emissions

The draft bill will be subject to a full public consultation alongside pre-legislative scrutiny in Parliament and the full Climate Change Bill is set to be published in the autumn.

Mr Miliband has stated that more focus is needed on cutting carbon emissions from homes and he cited government plans to make all new houses carbon-neutral by 2016 and encourage the use of energy-efficient light bulbs.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “At the moment, domestic buildings account for 25% of the UK emissions. Aviation represents 5%, so aviation is important but it’s one fifth as important for this big problem as domestic emissions.”

Mr Miliband added: “If we are going to fly more, we’ve got to do something else less.

“In the end the planet doesn’t mind whether it’s an aviation emission or another emission.”

In response, the Shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth commented: “To be truly effective, any bill should have three elements: annual emission reduction targets; an independent body to set as well as monitor these targets; and an annual carbon budget report from the secretary of state.”