The UK's greenhouse gas emissions are set to fall by 21.5% from 1990 levels under government plans to tackle climate change. This figure goes much further than the UK legally binding requirement of a 12.5% reduction by 2008-2012 under its Kyoto commitments. Later this year emissions are expected to fall to 15% below 1990 levels, says deputy prime minister, John Prescott. This makes the UK one of only a handful of countries to meet the target, agreed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, to return greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. But Prescott warns that without further action they would soon start to rise again, reflecting growth in the economy. Unveiling his "blueprint" for tackling climate change, he claims it will keep emissions on a downward path. It could also deliver the more "difficult" national goal of a 20% cut in carbon dioxide. According to ENDS Daily, this could give the UK credits for 17.6 million tonnes of CO2 to sell under EU or international emissions trading schemes, worth up to EUR 580 million. The package of measures includes existing policies such as the climate change levy, an obligation on suppliers to deliver 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010, a new target to double CHP capacity and an integrated transport policy. Newer elements include improved energy efficiency in the home; a carbon trading scheme, and encouragement for UK-based carbon offset projects, which would promote renewables, and carbon sinks. The consultation period ends June 2, 2000.
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