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Draft Climate Change Bill Published

16th March, 2007

On 12th March, the Government unveiled its draft Climate Change Bill. The bill came about because of sustained lobbying by environmental groups and, latterly, because of pressure exerted by the opposition parties.

The bill sets out a target of 60% CO2 emission reductions by 2050, and an intermediate target for 2020. Though very welcome, it is vital the bill is strengthened.

  • It is agreed by most scientists and observer that a target of around 80% is needed by 2050 in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
  • There need to be annual targets, not 5-years ones. While everyone recognises that there are fluctuations such as the weather which will affect the trend over a shorter period, this can be recognised and allowed for. After all, economic and other statistics are published annually (or more often) yet they are equally subject to short-term influences. It is no coincidence that 5 years is the maximum length of a parliament. 5-year targets mean that each government can claim, with some justification, that failure to meet the current target was the fault of the previous administration. With annual targets, there will no such excuses.
  • The third and most critical issue for us is that emissions from international aviation (and also from international shipping) are not included. This could render the targets potentially useless because aviation threatens to swamp other emissions.

There is a consultation on the Bill, until 12th June. We encourage AEF members to send in comments and too get friends, colleagues and groups to do so. You do not need to be an expert and comments do not need to be long or complicated. .. HOWEVER .. There is ongoing discussion about the implications of some clauses of the Bill and this could affect our recommended response. We there suggest that you await further advice (on the AEF web site) before submitting your response.

The documents you need are available below.
Climate Change Bill consultation documents – Defra website
CC Bill consultation
Climate Change Bill – short summary
Consultation form – version to send by post