- 19th May 2011
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The UK government has committed to halving carbon emissions by 2025 from 1990 levels, and therefore changing the way the country produces energy. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne outlined the latest ‘carbon budget’ for the UK in Parliament but was accused by the Labour opposition of a ‘go-slow’ on green progress.
The plans to cut carbon emissions in half are legally-binding, but are also set to be reviewed in 2014 to ensure that the rest of Europe is falling in line with similar cuts and to ensure British businesses will not lose out against overseas competition which doesn’t face the same challenges of finding energy from new sources.
The announcement of the new carbon budget was accompanied by news that the government is to set up a package of measures to help energy-intensive industries adjust to the transformation of the supply industry and remain competitive internationally. This package of measures is due to be announced by the end of the year.
Mr. Huhne said the reductions in emissions would ‘set Britain on the path to green growth.’
“It will establish our competitive advantage in the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy.” he said. “It will generate jobs and export opportunities in these sectors – maintain energy security and protect our economy from oil price volatility. It’s a framework for growth, not just for action on climate but for growth and prosperity.”
Shadow climate change secretary Meg Hillier accused Mr. Huhne of a “go-slow” on green progress, saying that the “long-awaited Green Investment Bank” was unable to borrow until 2015, pointing out: “So no rush there.”
She said meeting carbon targets was impossible without cutting domestic emissions, adding: “Policy needs to be joined up if we are going to get the green industrial revolution we need in this country.”
The single Green MP in the House of Commons, Caroline Lucas, was also critical of the announcement, saying it risked being a ‘sham’.