Draft Climate Change Bill
On 13 March 2007 the Government published a draft Climate Change Bill, which underwent a public consultation until 12 June.
We want a Bill which makes governments, now and in the future, properly accountable for cutting emissions and which ensures that Britain does its fair share to prevent dangerous climate change.
The draft Bill goes some way towards achieving these aims, but we feel that there are key ways that it could be improved.
The consultation had 20 questions, of which the first three were key:
Question 1: Is the Government right to set unilaterally a long-term legal target for reducing CO2 emissions through domestic and international action by 60% by 2050 and a further interim legal target for 2020 of 26-32%?
We say: The principal target for a 60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 is not ambitious enough.
Brief explanation: The target of a 60% cut in carbon dioxide was based on the best available science seven years ago. Scientific research since then shows that we need to be aiming for at least an 80% cut in emissions. We need cuts of at least 3% each year to get us on a steady pathway towards that target.
Question 2: Is the Government right to keep under review the question of moving to a broader system of greenhouse gas targets and budgets, and to maintain the focus at this stage on CO2?
We say: Keeping the focus on CO2 at this stage is sensible – but we need to ensure that all sources of CO2 are counted. Therefore emissions from international aviation and shipping should be included.
Brief explanation: At present the proposal does not include international aviation and shipping emissions. Emissions from both these sectors are growing fast – and leaving them out compounds the fact that overall carbon cuts are too small.
Question 3: Should the UK move to a system of carbon management based upon statutory five-year carbon budgets set in secondary legislation?
We say: 5-year budgets are too long, as they will allow successive Governments to blame each other. Annual targets should be incorporated into the 5-year budget approach.
Brief explanation: 5-year budget cycles are longer than the vast majority of Parliaments – and so may frequently be the responsibility of two Governments. If the Government has to say in advance how far it’s aiming to cut emissions each year, we’ll be able to judge if its policies are working and hold it accountable.
Have your say!
The consultation ended on 12 June, but you can still make a difference by asking your MP to support the changes outlined above.