Climate Change Bill Receives Royal Assent

After years of campaigning by a multitude of NGOs within Britain for a far-reaching Climate Change Bill, the Government has finally given in and last night the Climate Change Bill received Royal Assent.

The British Ecological Society (BES) responded to the initial Government consultation in 2007, calling for the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 70% by 2050, and the BES is extremely pleased that the Government favourably considered our viewpoint.

In fact the Government went further and set binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 80% of 1990s levels by 2050. Suprisingly, Lord Turner, the chair of the Climate Change Committee, has pledged support of a third runway at Heathrow with obvious implications in terms of emissions. However, Lord Turner believes that building a third runway at Heathrow will not inhibit targets set out in the bill.

The government has set itself five year carbon budgets that it will be required to not only adhere to, but to provide annual reports on its progress towards meeting the budgets. The first of these budgets will run from 2008 to 2013, with follow-up budgets from 2013 to 2018, and 2018 to 2023.

Announcing the new legislation the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, said “Setting the 80 per cent target was the easy part: now the work really begins,” he said.

“Government, communities, businesses and individuals need to work together to bring about change.”

The ascension of the Climate Change Bill means Britain is now a world leader in tackling climate change. This will hopefully help bring about similar positive changes in other countries that, until now, have been hesitant about making as strong binding commitments as Britain has made.

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