I Count's polar bears were run off their paws today when they delivered 150,000 pledges to No.10 before heading to Kew Gardens to hang with Hilary Benn.
First up, following a photocall at Big Ben, the bears were joined by supporters of I Count to drop off 150,000 petition cards at 10 Downing Street calling on the Government to do all it can to stop climate chaos.
Following the delivery of the cards, the bears hightailed it to Kew Gardens where Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, was presenting the Government's response to the three month public consultation on the Climate Change Bill.
After meeting the banner-bearing bears and thanking them for attending, Mr Benn went onto reveal the report's findings to a panel including Friends of the Earth director, Tony Juniper, and WWF Chief Executive, David Nussbaum.
Stressing that the Bill had been "strengthened", in addition to being "made more effective and more transparent", the son of Labour veteran, Tony Benn, mapped out the proposed changes to the upcoming Bill.
With regard to the Top 3 Changes to the Bill, that I Count have been actively campaigning for - namely targets for CO2 emission cuts to be raised from 60% to 80% by 2050, the UK’s aviation and shipping emissions to be included in targets and annual milestones to be observed - Mr Benn announced the following:
• The Committee on Climate Change is to report on whether the Government’s target to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 60% by 2050 should be strengthened further.
• The Committee will look at the implications of including other greenhouse gases and emissions from international aviation and shipping in the UK’s targets.
• An annualised approach would be inconsistent with the UK’s international obligations. In particular, it would be impractical to manage annual budgets for those businesses covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, representing around half of the UK’s emissions.
Speaking in response to the report, I Count's Campaign Manager, Lucy Pearce, said: "We believe that the science is strong enough to put 80% on the face of the Bill now," and referred to the further consultation of the Committee on Climate Change as "kicking [the topic] into the long grass - a classic delay tactic."
Also responding to the report, Ashok Sinha, Director for I Count said: “Government plans announced today will mean a 60% carbon emission reduction target by 2050 equating to a 4 deg C rise in temperatures. This figure will not stop climate chaos.
"An 80% reduction target is needed to keep within the widely accepted global warming danger threshold of 2 deg C and anything less will fail to do so,” added Dr Sinha.
published 17:30 - Monday 29 October 2007
photo credits: Nick Cobbing & Lucy Pearce