The Liberal Democrats have become the first of Britain's three major political parties to call for the introduction of a carbon tax. At its annual conference in Brighton in September, the party endorsed the phased introduction of a carbon tax as part of its strategy for an overall reduction in energy use. Among other policy developments outlined in its energy policy paper, Conserving Tomorrow, and now adopted, are tough targets for reducing pollutants -- including the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2% annually, and decentralisation of planning decisions for small and medium scale generation to encourage greater community participation and a localised approach to power generation. The Liberal Democrats are already committed to retaining and expanding the existing protected markets for renewable energy in the UK. Its aim is to generate 20% of the UK's electricity needs from renewable sources within 15 years.
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