United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Green goals hard to achieve

The government's targets for renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions were called into question by one of Labour's own backbench MPs during a debate on climate change in the House of Commons. Referring to its manifesto commitment of a 20% cut in CO2 emissions, David Chaytor, MP for Bury North, called on the government to make clear the nature and status of the target. "It is not legally binding, but it is politically binding," he argued. He recalled the White Paper on sustainable development which talked about "moving towards" a domestic goal of 20%. "I fear that there is a slight shift of emphasis there." Chaytor is also worried that the government may back-pedal on its 10% target for electricity from renewables. "The expansion of renewable forms of energy is no longer a question of technological limitation; it is almost entirely a question of political will," he said. He urged a radical program of energy conservation and renewables. Junior environment minister Nick Raynsford confirmed the government is holding to its "challenging" 20% goal for CO2 reduction. But he warned that unless it succeeds in implementing its policies on transport taxation, utility reform and the climate change levy, the goal will be hard to achieve.

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