The UK government has legally committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

The Climate Change Act legally binds the UK government to reducing carbon emissions and is the first piece of legislation of its kind in the world.

The Energy Act included the amendment on feed-in tariffs which will mean financial incentives for the generators of renewable power fed back into the grid. The Planning Act was also passed.

Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, said: “Setting the 80 per cent target was the easy part: now the work really begins. Government, communities, businesses and individuals need to work together to bring about change.

"The Energy and Planning Acts will be instrumental in reducing carbon emissions, removing barriers to enable industry to invest in important new infrastructure, and giving individuals and communities the incentive to use energy more efficiently and generate their own heat and energy.

"With over 40 per cent of emissions coming from the choices we make as individuals, the new People Power challenge aims to show the small steps we can each take so together we can make a big difference. I hope the volunteers, their action and their enthusiasm, will inspire others across the country to ACT ON CO2 and I wish them the very best with the challenge."

However, the Climate Change Act has faced criticism this week, as MP Peter Lilley claimed the bill would cost £10,000 per UK family.

The government’s impact of assessment of the Climate Change Act states that the legislation will cost somewhere between £30bn and £205bn, while the financial benefits are calculated between £82bn and $110bn.