By Maximilian Clarke
The Government is rushing through a politically motivated review of the UK’s carbon budgets, threatening to undermine progress towards a low-carbon future, Parliament’s Green Watchdog warns.
A report by the Environmental Audit Committee, published today (Tuesday), welcomes the Government's decision to set the fourth carbon budget — required under the Climate Change Act - at the level recommended by the independent Committee on Climate Change, but questions the Government's decision to announce a review of this budget in 2014 in response to fears that it could be bad for business- a view shared by business organisations including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The Committee ‘strongly support’ the government’s plan for mandatory emissions reporting for businesses, a view the CBI shares, albeit with limitations.
“We have always backed mandatory carbon reporting, which helps companies monitor and reduce emissions, but to be effective, it should be phased in, simple to follow and avoid duplicating other reporting schemes,” a statement read.
Commneting on the report, the Committee’s chair, Joan Walley MP, said the government is undermining the efforts.
"The long term carbon-cutting commitments set out in the Climate Change Act are supposed to provide certainty that Britain is determined to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050," he said.
“Unfortunately, the Government's somewhat schizophrenic attitude to climate change seems to be undermining that confidence.
“The Chancellor's comments last week show that five years on from the Stern report the Treasury still doesn’t get climate change - or the risk it poses to global stability and economic prosperity.
“While the Prime Minister is to be commended for not faltering when setting the fourth long-term carbon budget, he risks throwing the UK’s climate targets off-course by instigating a review in just three years time that could overturn the commitment.
“Backtracking on the Government's green promises now would be a big mistake.
“Green investment should be seen as a 'win-win' solution to our economic problems; helping to stimulate growth and rebalance the economy, at the same time as reducing pollution."
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