Government challenged on its commitment to energy saving

November 19, 2008 3:32 PM

The Government's commitment to worldwide energy saving has been challenged by Cambridge MP David Howarth as the new Climate Change Bill becomes law.

Mr Howarth accused Labour of following an implausible strategy on cutting carbon emissions as ministers debated the final stages of the new Bill yesterday (Tuesday).

The attack came when the Government refused to act on a call from the House of Lords to ensure that 70 per cent of the nation's carbon emissions saving should be made in the country and not "traded in" from overseas.

Under the present rules countries are set carbon emission limits and, if they need to exceed those limits they can buy credits from under-developed countries which are not reaching their ceiling.

Opposition ministers feared that, if the new Bill failed to lay down a carbon emission "effort target" for the UK, the Government could make its 100 per cent saving by buying in credits from overseas.

"The important thing is to create a new economy, and the question is: where in the world are we likely to get technical change of the sort that we need?" asked Mr Howarth. "Is it here in the developed world, or in the developing world? Surely the Government are not proposing a plausible strategy."

He added that setting a carbon emissions' effort level for the country was important because the trading system was set up to promote advances in technology and not the adoption of those which already exist.

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