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Wednesday, February 12, 2003

The Sustainable Development Commission has reviewed the UK Government's Climate Change Programme and found the UK is in danger of failing to deliver on its key goal of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, unless action is taken now.

More positively the Commission believes that "the UK is likely to achieve its Kyoto target for reductions in greenhouse gases as a whole. Few other countries can claim that. It is a positive point, which we must build on in encouraging greater efforts internationally.”

Key findings of the commission include:

* The measures to achieve the Government goal, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2010, are simply not in place. The UK is unlikely to achieve even two-thirds of that reduction, and maybe less than half.

* This is not a reason to abandon the goal, but to redouble efforts to achieve it. There is still time to do so.

* There are great benefits (in taking action), not only for the long term by helping to slow global climate change, but immediately through business opportunities for low-carbon technologies and by giving ourselves a better quality of life all round.

* The emissions reductions from the 10 year transport plan are particularly at risk. And international air travel, not even included in the calculations or the goal, threatens to blow away all the good work in industry and other sectors.

These are disturbing findings. The Government must now seize the opportunity of using the energy White Paper to bring us back on track for 2010, and set us on a low-carbon path into the longer term,” concludes Jonathon Porritt.