Thursday 30 June 2016 2:41 pm

Lord Stern warns UK emissions targets must be strengthened after Fifth Carbon Budget

One of the world's most formidable climate change economists applauded the government's adoption of its fifth carbon budget, but he warned that the UK must strengthen its emissions targets.

The budget — which is a step in the right direction — will cut carbon emissions 57 per cent by 2032 compared to 1990 levels. But targets must be more demanding if Britain is to meet commitments made at the Paris climate change accord.

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Lord Stern, author of a 2006 UK study on the economics of climate change, said: "We must also recognise that the UK's emissions targets will need to be strengthened to be consistent with the goal of the Paris Agreement."

Stern was second permanent secretary to the Treasury between 2003 and 2005, nevertheless, he's thought to have had a strained relationship with then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He went on to author the eponymous Stern Review which painted a gloomy picture of the future effects on global warming, and has since said this underestimates the threat of rising temperature to the economy.

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"The UK has already demonstrated that we can both grow and tackle climate change by reducing its annual emissions by about 38 per cent by 2015 compared with 1990, while also increasing its gross domestic product by more than 60 per cent over the same period," he said today.

"The next Prime Minister should recognise the enormous potential for the low-carbon economy to drive growth, raise prosperity and enhance well-being.”