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Greener Gordon Considers 80%

In his first speech on the environment as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown today said he is ready to consider increasing the Government's target of a 60% cut in Britain's carbon emissions to 80% by 2050.

Speaking at an event hosted by conservation charity WWF in Central London today, the PM acknowledged that scientific evidence now suggests that developed countries may need to reduce emissions by up to 80% by 2050.

As previously reported by I Count, Mr Brown will ask the new independent Committee on Climate Change to review raising the target.

Mr Brown also thanked the assembled environmental groups, including Stop Climate Chaos - the coalition behind I Count, for campaigning so strongly on climate change.

I Count campaign manager, Lucy Pearce, was at the event and said afterwards: "Getting the committee that will be set up by the Climate Change Bill to look at the evidence on this is too late. The change must me made now: the science is there for the target to be at least 80% by 2050; the current target of 60% is based on old science.

Having expressed his “overriding aim” of keeping the rise in global average temperatures to no more that 2 degrees C, Mr Brown went on to say that the UK was “completely committed” to meeting its fair share of the EU target to supply 20% of Europe's total energy needs with renewable power by 2020.

In response Lucy Pearce added: “After worrying reports that the Government was getting cold feet over renewable energy, this is really good news but must be backed up be ambitious new measures to rapidly increase the amount of energy the UK gets from technologies such as wind and solar power.”

The creation of a new "funding framework" to help developing countries adapt to climate change was also among Mr Brown’s proposals - in addition to the setting up of a “green hotline”, the phasing out of one-use carrier bags and a move towards an economy “primarily powered by low-carbon energy”.

The Prime Minister’s speech comes two weeks before the UN’s climate change conference in Bali, where policy makers from around the world are set to discuss a new global climate change agreement to succeed the Kyoto Agreement in 2012.

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published: 18:00 - 19 November 2007