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Climate body calls on UK to change tack

BRITAIN needs a &ldquo;step change&rdquo; in its environmental policy to meet its own targets, the government&rsquo;s chief climate change adviser said yesterday.<br /><br />Presenting its first annual report to parliament, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) urged more aggressive intervention in the energy markets.<br /><br />To meet its own target of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, the government must force emissions from the power sector to be slashed by 50 per cent before 2020, the report said. <br /><br />&ldquo;The cost of tackling climate change in 2020 will be less than one per cent of UK GDP,&rdquo; the paper said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s roughly the cost to the average person in the UK of less than &pound;240 a year,&rdquo; it added.<br /><br />The Committee, headed up by FSA chairman Adair Turner, said annual emissions cuts must rise from an average of 0.5 per cent between 2003-07 to 2-3 per cent each year.<br /><br />Although the recession depressed economic activity and emissions fell by two per cent in 2008, this trend will not continue once economic growth resumes, the report said.<br /><br />The government followed the committee&rsquo;s guidance earlier this year and passed its first set of carbon reduction targets into law. Britain aims to reduce emissions to at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.<br /><br />Energy and climate secretary Ed Miliband said yesterday the government had put &ldquo;clear programmes&rdquo; in place &ldquo;for delivery of renewables, nuclear and clean coal&rdquo;.<br /><br />But the committee&rsquo;s report went further and called on the government to consider forcing power companies to welcome renewables, and said a carbon tax &ldquo;should not be ruled out&rdquo;.<br /><br />Britain should aim to build up to three new nuclear power stations by 2022, test four clean coal plants by 2016 and add 23 gigawatts of new wind farm capacity, the committee &ndash; whose chief executive is David Kennedy &shy;&ndash; said.<br /><br />To get wind capacity to 23 gigawatts, Britain needs to consider loan guarantees to banks so that finance is available for wind projects.<br /><br />Currently, up to seven gigawatts of new wind power projects have gained planning permission but have yet to be built.<br /><br /><strong>The Committee on Climate Change&rsquo;s demands...</strong><br />&bull;&nbsp; Cut emissions six times as quickly<br />&bull;&nbsp; Intervene aggressively in energy markets<br />&bull;&nbsp; Build three nuclear power stations by 2022<br />&bull;&nbsp; Test four clean coal plants by 2016<br />&bull;&nbsp; Add 23 gigawatts of new wind-farm capacity<br />&bull;&nbsp; Offer more support for electric cars