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Brown must not ignore aviation in Climate Change Bill

Gordon Brown’s attack on Conservative proposals for taxes on air travel ahead of the publication of the Climate Change Bill is ill-conceived, Christian Aid said today.

Welcoming the draft Climate Change Bill, which aims to enforce a 60 per cent cut in UK CO2 emissions by 2050, as a significant step in the right direction, Andrew Pendleton, Christian Aid’s senior climate change policy officer, said the government needed to include aviation emissions in the Bill if the world’s poorest people were not to suffer even more from the ravages of global warming.

Mr Pendleton’s comments came today after the Chancellor said today that he was not going to ‘penalise the holidaymaker and I am not going to penalise people who have got to travel for all sorts of reasons on domestic flights.’

Mr Pendleton added: ‘There is clearly a tension between Gordon Brown and the Conservative party on this, which is facile given the enormity of the problem facing the world in regard to climate change. Politicians should not be point scoring over this issue. Doing so is childish and pathetic. But even more worrying is the fact that David Miliband, the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, seems at odds with his Chancellor.

‘The Bill seems to show that there’s tension in Whitehall about cutting emissions, particularly the fact that there is a total absence of any mention of aviation and shipping emissions.

‘Christian Aid suspects that aviation has been left out for fear of curtailing air traffic and thereby losing vital revenue raised by taxing the air industry. If this is correct, then it is time the Treasury woke up and took this issue seriously.’

Christian Aid is campaigning for a climate change bill that includes:

Cuts of at least 80 per cent by 2050 with annual carbon budgeting ‘milestones’ rather than five year budgets - there is too much flexibility and wriggle room in a five-year cycle.

Mandatory reporting of CO2 emissions by companies trading in the UK according to DEFRA’s own, currently voluntary standards (Christian Aid’s current ‘Climate Changed’ campaign focuses on mandatory transparent carbon disclosure).

Christian Aid is campaigning on climate change because the world’s poorest people are already suffering its impact and stand to lose livelihoods and lives if the situation deteriorates.

Mr Pendleton said: ‘A UK cut of 60 per cent of CO2 emissions is not enough. The ambition at the heart of this bill must be to cut CO2 emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, with as steep a decline as possible as soon as possible, which means 40 per cent cuts by 2020. With the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats both developing proposals of their own there’ll be everything to play for as this bill passes through Parliament.

ENDS

For more information call Dominic Nutt on 0207 523 2427 or 07720 467680

Notes to editors 

On 19 February Christian Aid launched its climate change campaign and published a report which argued that the UK has a far greater impact on global carbon emissions than the  two per cent the government declares and that therefore the UK should bear a far greater responsibility for reducing the world’s CO2 emissions than its rhetoric suggests.

See: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/indepth/0702_climate/index.htm 

Christian Aid is a member of Stop Climate Chaos coalition, see www.icount.org.uk