United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK first to introduce legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

The UK will become the first country in the world to introduce legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under legislation to be enacted in the current session of parliament. The climate change bill is among a raft of environmental or energy legislation that was announced in the Queen's speech at the state opening of parliament last month. It will translate into law the government's goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050 and between 26% and 32% by 2020 from 1990 levels through a series of binding five-year carbon budgets. Emissions reduction purchased overseas may count towards the UK targets. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has, however, recently suggested raising the domestic target from 60% to 80%. Other bills due to make their way through parliament in the current session include an energy bill containing provisions to reform the Renewables Obligation to bring forward a greater range of renewable technologies such as offshore wind, and a planning reform bill designed to speed up the consents process for infrastructure developments including large energy projects.

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