Target raised from 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions to 80% by 2050

Energy and Climate Change secretary Ed Miliband today committed the UK to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. This raises the target from the current 60%.

In his first Commons statement since being appointed to the new Department of Energy and Climate Change, Miliband backed the recommendations of Lord Turner's Climate Change Committee and said the Government would make the target binding in law by amending the Climate Change Bill currently going through Parliament.

Miliband is also to introduce a 'feed in tariff' to support small scale renewables, and to make a further announcement soon on encouraging renewable heat. He said that he plans to bring an amendment to the Energy Bill, also currently before the House, to this effect.

“We will amend the Climate Change Bill to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and that target will be binding in law,” said Miliband. “However, we all know that signing up to an 80 per cent cut by 2050 is the easy part. The hard part is meeting it, and meeting the milestones that will show we're on track.”

Graham Meeks, director of the Combined Heat and Power Association, has welcomed today’s announcement: “The Secretary of State is to be applauded on his swift move to adopt the Committee on Climate Change's recommendations for an 80% CO2 savings target. It leaves little room for doubt that the Government is serious in tackling climate change. It is an important and welcome first step that will help to build certainty in the market.

“But the measures announced today reveal some major gaps in policy that still need to be plugged. We need action on a broad front, including measures to cut our growing gas dependency. And we need consumers of heating fuels to benefit from early efforts to reduce consumption and cut carbon emissions.

“The Feed-in Tariff announced today must include within its scope the emerging technology of Micro-CHP. The Secretary of State confirmed that heat must feature prominently on the Government's energy policy agenda. Having made that commitment, Mr Miliband should now use the opportunity of the Energy Bill to take it forward. He should also move quickly to deliver a step change in our use of combined heat and power – without this any efforts to decarbonise our heat market and deliver long-term energy security will remain sadly lacking.”