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Climate Change Bill - I Count Campaign know Government can do better

The I Count campaign, backed by most of the UK’s environmental and poverty campaigners, trade unions, women’s organisations and faith groups, with a combined supporter base of 4 million plus, unite in their response to the first draft of a Climate Bill.  The Bill is welcomed as a pioneering opportunity to develop a legal framework for managing carbon emissions.  However, it falls short of adequately addressing the problem at home or abroad by not acknowledging the widely accepted global warming danger threshold of 2º Celsius - and the UK’s resultant responsibility for a carbon budget to reduce emissions by at least 3% year on year.  

 “This landmark Bill is an opportunity to lead by example - over 50 of the UK’s most respected organisations campaigning on climate change greet it with both enthusiasm and disappointment.  The draft is a good start but needs to acknowledge the 2º Celsius global warming danger threshold, and ensure UK carbon emissions are reduced by at least  3% per year - starting now - if it is to be truly effective.” Ashok Sinha, Director, Stop Climate Chaos
Organisations behind the I Count campaign including Greenpeace, RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam, Unison and many more, have been showing the public and politicians that climate change is not too big a problem to fix. They demand a Climate Change Bill that commits Government to substantial and sustained annual reductions in UK greenhouse gas emissions. I Count’s collective weight of expertise has identified a series of gaps which need filling to ensure subsequent drafts of the Bill has real teeth.   


What's in

What's not

This Bill puts into statute the UK's targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through domestic and international action by 60% by 2050 and 26-32% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline.  

A good start, but this lags behind the science which indicates 80% should be the target by 2050 - with a need for a minimum reduction of 30% by 2020. The Government needs to explicitly commit to keeping global warming under 2 deg.C danger threshold.

Five-year carbon budgets, which will require the Government to set, in secondary legislation, binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions during five year budget periods, beginning with the period 2008-12.  Three successive carbon budgets (representing 15 years) will always be in legislation.    

The UK needs annual budgets - if this can be done with the nation’s financial budget we can do it with the nation’s carbon budget - putting a Carbon budget at the top of the political agenda.  The Bill does not set budgets in accordance with the UK’s fair share of green house gas contribution which needs to keep global warming under 2 deg.C.  It also omits to ensure all sectors of the economy play their full part, including aviation and shipping.

Emission reductions purchased overseas may be counted towards the UK’s targets, consistent with the UK’s international obligations. This ensures emission reductions can be achieved in the most cost effective way, recognising the potential for investing in low carbon technologies abroad as well as action within the UK to reduce the UK’s overall carbon footprint.  

I Count wants to see real emissions reductions from UK activities in line with its fair share and responsibility of meeting global targets and not export our obligations.

The ‘I Count’ campaign was launched on Wednesday 11th October with the unveiling of a 4ft  sculpture of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s head encased around a first edition of Penguin book, ‘I Count: A Step by Step Guide to Climate Bliss’.  On Saturday November 4th 2006, a mass event of 25, 000 people in Trafalgar Square was held on the eve of crucial global talks on climate change in Nairobi and pressure was placed on Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to introduce a strong and effective Bill on climate change. 

People are being encouraged to sign up online (www.icount.org.uk) or text ‘I Count’ to 84424 and send a message to government to do ALL they can do to stop climate chaos.  Since its launch, the campaign has generated a wealth of support from leading environmental campaigners, opinion formers, musicians and poverty campaigners. 

“I Count because the world is facing its greatest man-made threat ever climate change. Urgent action is needed - by individuals and most of all governments. Without political will, action on the scale required will not be possible.”  David Attenborough

“I Count because I am part of the last generation which can solve the biggest problem that the human race has ever had to face. If we don't then our time is up.” Thom Yorke


Notes to Editors:
1.  For further information and interview or image requests, please contact:
Alison Blower Media Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 0207729 8732 Mob: 07967 698928

2.   SCC members include: Friends of the Earth, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Oxfam, People & Planet, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, RSPB, Tearfund, World Wide Fund for Nature - UK (Board members), A Rocha, ACTSA, Action Aid, Airport Watch, BMS World Mission, CAFOD, Campaign against Climate Change, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Carplus, Climate Outreach and Information Network, Come off It, Ethical Consumer, Ethical Jobs, From Greenhouse to Green House, Garden Organic, Glasgow Eco-Renovation Network, Global Student Forum, Green TV, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, Islamic Relief, Medact, National Commission for Justice and Peace, The National Trust for Scotland, Operation Noah, Plan B, Practical Action, Road Block, SAOCC, Save our World, SCIAF (Scottish Action on Climate Change), Shared Energy, SPEAK, Spokes, Surfers Against Sewage, Sustrans, Take Global Warming Seriously, The Wildlife Trusts, Transport 2000, UNA,
Unison, Women's Environmental Network, Woodland Trust, World Development Movement, Youth Against Climate Change

 3.  The I Count Campaign calls on the UK government to provide:
• action internationally: ensure that global greenhouse gas emissions are irreversibly declining by 2015
• action for justice: deliver assistance to developing countries to adapt to climate change and give access to clean energy to meet their developmental needs
• action in the UK: introduce a Climate Bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 3% per year.