Britain set to become ?world leader? in fight against climate change

UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne told Parliament on Tuesday that the Government has agreed greenhouse gas emissions in Britain will fall at least 50% over 1990 levels by 2027.

Huhne’s dramatic announcement that the agreement will become law puts Britain in place to become a world leader in the fight against climate change caused by burning fossil fuels.

It also sets in motion the likelihood that increasingly larger amounts of emissions-free electricity generated by wind power and other renewables will be used in the UK to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide currently being pumped into the atmosphere.

“We are demonstrating our desire to drive the changes needed to turn the UK into a dynamic, low carbon economy that is attractive to investors in the new and growing low carbon sectors,” Huhne said in a statement.

Huhne, backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, advised Parliament that Government has accepted the independent Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) recommendations on a Fourth Carbon Budget.

That CCC report notes that in order for the UK to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels, it needs emissions to drop by 37% by 2020 and 60% by 2030.

The Fourth Carbon Budget, covering the years 2023-27, has noted that the offshore wind energy sector, given the vast UK resource, is a valuable option for power sector decarbonisation.

A CCC press release issued earlier this month notes wind energy and other renewables should make a major contribution to decarbonising the UK economy over the next several decades, providing at least 30%, and perhaps as high as 45%, of the nation’s electricity by 2030.

Huhne also said Tuesday that the Fourth Carbon Budget should set Britain on the path to green growth.

“It will establish our competitive advantage in the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, generate jobs and export opportunities in these sectors, maintain energy security and protect our economy from oil price volatility.”

He added that the UK Government will continue to argue for an EU move to a 30% emissions-reduction target for 2020 from the current 20% target as well as build momentum toward a new legally binding global climate change deal — which many organisations, including the European Wind Energy Association, have long proposed.

By Chris Rose,