Alone among EU countries, the UK is adopting a domestic target for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions that is considerably tougher than the one it signed up to under the EU's burden sharing deal (Windpower Monthly, July 1998). The Labour government has confirmed that despite the 12.5% reduction in greenhouse gases it agreed to at the EU Environment Council meeting in June, it is still holding fast to its manifesto pledge of 1997. This promised a 20% goal for reducing carbon emissions by 2010. Environment Minister Michael Meacher has defended the government for not making the 20% target legally binding. Speaking at a recent conference on business opportunities from Kyoto, he explained that as part of the EU "bubble" agreement, a high official target by the UK would let other European countries off the hook. "It is the EU as a whole which has to meet the Kyoto target. If we put our 20% into the bowl there would be less pressure on others to make reductions, particularly those who have been allowed significant increases," he said. "This would lead to higher emissions from Europe overall."
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