07 October 2008

UK urged to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, Mon Oct 6, 2008 8:26pm EDT


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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain should increase its climate targets to an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to its present 60 percent goal, its chief adviser on climate change said on Tuesday.

The higher target should apply across all sectors of the UK economy and would cost between 1 and 2 percent of gross domestic product in 2050, said the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advises the government on how it can meet its climate change goals.

The new goal would also apply to all the main manmade greenhouse gases rather than just carbon dioxide, under the present target, the CCC Chair Adair Turner said in a letter to the newly-installed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband.

The CCC said Britain needed to reduce its emissions further than under current proposals, as part of a strategy to halve global emissions by 2050.

"Meeting an 80 percent target or higher will be challenging but feasible," the letter said.

The target could be met by improving energy efficiency in buildings and industry, replacing fossil fuel-fired plants with renewable technology, nuclear power or carbon capture and storage (CCS), the committee said.

Other measures could include improving fuel efficiency in the transport sector, increasing the use of biomass in boilers and combined heat and power and using CCS in the cement, iron and steel industries.

The CCC said that the higher target should ideally include international aviation and shipping but said problems measuring these sectors' emissions meant that binding domestic targets should exclude these, at least initially.

The committee will release its full report on the new target and the government's first three carbon budgets on Dec 1.

(Editing by James Jukwey)
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