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Friends of the Earth has welcomed the Government’s decision today (Thursday 16 October 2008) to increase its target for cutting UK emissions to 80 per cent but warned pollution from planes and ships needs to be dealt with in law. The move follows Friends of the Earth’s successful Big Ask campaign for a tough climate change law [1].

The environmental campaign group also welcomed today’s acceptance of the need for financial incentives – through a feed-in tariff – to encourage the uptake of small scale renewable energy systems such as solar panels and water turbines – but called for more detail on what was being proposed.

Mr Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said the Government would amend the Climate Change Bill by increasing the target for carbon dioxide reductions from 60 to 80 per cent. However he made clear that international aviation and shipping emissions will dealt with voluntarily outside the Bill.  

Sixty eight back bench Labour MPs have signed a parliamentary petition - Early Day Motion 2233 - calling for the Government to accept the advice issued by the climate change committee last week [2].  This means a majority of MPs back the introduction of a strong law which will cover all the UK’s emissions.  MPs are due to vote on the Climate Change Bill at the end of October.

Friends of the Earth have led the campaign for a strong climate change law through The Big Ask. Since the campaign was launched in May 2005 more than 200,000 people have emailed, written to or visited their MP to ask them to support a strong law. 

Friends of the Earth Executive Director, Andy Atkins, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that Ed Miliband has committed the UK to cutting its emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 – this is what the science demands."

“However Miliband’s admission that pollution from international aviation and shipping will be dealt with outside the Bill is a sign that these industries are being picked out for special treatment yet again."

“The Committee on Climate Change made it clear that we have to reduce all carbon emissions by 80 per cent.  We cannot leave the cuts in aviation and shipping emissions to chance."

“The Government must listen to the concerns of the public and majority of MPs who want to see a law that covers all the UK’s emissions.”

Commenting on Government plans announced today to amend the Energy Bill to introduce a feed-in tariff for small scale electricity generation Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner, Dave Timms, said:

“We welcome Ed Milliband’s acceptance of the need for a feed-in tariff and the important role that it can play in encouraging the installation of small scale renewable electricity systems, such as solar panels, wind and water turbines."

“But the details are unknown - a comprehensive scheme is urgently needed and must encourage homes, businesses, communities and local authorities to play their part in tackling climate change by developing clean, green electricity and heat."

“The renewable energy potential in Britain is enormous – developing green power will cut our dependency on fossil fuels, slash UK carbon dioxide emissions, increase fuel security and create thousands of jobs.”

Notes:

1. Early Day Motion 2233 and a list of the MP signatories is at: http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.space¬
aspx?EDMID=36583&SESSION=891

2. Feed-in tariffs: Research by the Energy Saving Trust concludes that up to 40 per cent of the UK’s electricity could be generated by small-scale renewable energy systems.

Feed in tariffs (FITs) operate in seventeen European countries. The scheme has been especially successful in Germany, which now has 200 times more solar power and more than 10 times more wind power than the UK and employs 250,000 people in renewable energy – compared with just 15,000 in the UK.
Small scale renewable energy systems could also play an important role in helping the UK meet its EU renewable energy target which says that 15 per cent of all Britain’s energy must come from renewable energy sources by 2020. However, although the UK has accepted the target it is still trying to wriggle out of it by proposing loop holes so that Britain - and other countries – can meet their target by including green energy investments abroad or carbon-capturing technology.

The Energy Bill is currently is the House of Lords. An amendment to introduce a ‘Renewable Energy Tariff’ (a feed-in tariff) has been tables by Baroness Wilcox (Conservative). Lord Puttnam (Labour) and Lord Redesdale (Liberal Democrat) and will be debated later this month (either 22 or 28 October). It is supported by the Conservative and Liberal Democrats and backbench Labour peers. The amendment is supported by a coalition of 35 organisations including: Friends of the Earth, the Renewable Energy Association, Energy Saving Trust, National Farmers Union ,TUC, British Retail Consortium, National Energy Action, RSPB and RIBA.

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

 

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust