We’re now world leaders on climate policy, government claims

MPs have voted in favour of the Climate Change Bill, which commits the government to cutting 80% of carbon emissions by 2050.

As BSj went to press the Climate Change Bill and Energy Bill were both poised to be made law.

Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, said: “Getting this [Climate Change] Bill into law makes Britain a world leader on climate policy.

“It’s the first legislation of its kind in the world. It will tie this and future governments into legally binding emission targets – an 80% cut by 2050, with five-year carbon budgets along the way.

“It sends a clear message before European and global climate talks that serious action is possible.”

The bill also calls for a reduction in CO2 emissions of at least 26% by 2020 against a 1990 baseline, a carbon budgeting system which caps emissions over five-year periods, and the creation of a Committee on Climate Change.

This new independent body will advise the government on the level of carbon budgets and will submit annual reports to parliament on the UK’s progress.

As reported in BSj last month, the Climate Change Bill will now include shipping and aviation in its 80% reduction targets, after pressure from environmental groups and backbench MPs.

The Energy Bill, which was due to be passed to the Lords, also includes the proposed feed-in tariff, aimed at encouraging use of small-scale renewable technology.

Ed Matthews, Friends of the Earth’s head of UK Climate, said: “We’re delighted a new climate change law requiring 80% cuts in UK greenhouse gases has been agreed by MPs – this is a tremendous victory in the battle to tackle global climate change.

“The government must now ensure the payments are high enough to encourage homes, businesses and communities to install green energy.”