Wednesday, March 14, 2007

UK Proposes Legally Binding Climate Change Bill

Great Britain is poised to leap into the international lead in addressing global warming in the coming months. The UK's Environment Secretary David Miliband has unveiled a new draft Climate Change Bill that calls for legally binding carbon reduction targets as a prime part of a strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2050.

Unlike the debate on this side of the Atlantic, the proposed legislation is being welcomed by opposition parties, with the major criticism being that it does not go far enough in ensuring government accountability. Miliband's plan calls for an independent panel to set ministers a "carbon budget" every five years. However, opposition parties and environmentalists are calling for yearly reduction targets to ensure success and accountability.

As posted here a couple months back, both timelines are likely extreme. Yearly targets do not allow proper flexibility in the cases of extreme weather events, and could unduly restrict policy, whereas 5 year targets place the deadlines outside of single election terms, and will leave new governments holding the baggage for previous party's mistakes. Targets of two to three years would better serve both aims.

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