The government’s much publicised climate change bill has received stinging criticism from MPs. The cross party select committee on the environment, food and rural affairs have identified a number of major faults in the bill.
The bill is, say the committee, confusing, using terminology such as ‘UK carbon account’ and ‘UK carbon dioxide emissions interchangeably. It is also, in some ways, counterproductive. It legislates for an upper limit of 32% carbon reduction by 2020 and the committee are also worried by the over-representation of business interests on the ‘expert panel’ that is supposed to oversee environmental policy.
The main criticism of the bill, however, is that its central target, to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 doesn’t go far enough. Although the select committee concedes that the target is ‘extremely ambitious’, they point out that recent scientific evidence suggests that an 80% cut is needed to prevent further global warming.
The climate change bill was developed under stewardship of the previous secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs, now foreign secretary David Miliband. It does not go before parliament until the Autumn; giving the new environment secretary, Hilary Benn, some months to respond to the select committee’s criticisms and recommendations.
We shall be covering this story in more detail over the next few days…