Britain has become the first country to propose legislation setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The bill, which was presented to parliament on Tuesday, could become law next year. Prime Minister Tony Blair: “Today Britain becomes the first country in the world to agree legally binding targets for reducing carbon emission for 2020 and then for 2050.”
Under the Climate Change Bill, carbon dioxide emissions must be cut by at least 60 percent by 2050. It also sets a legally-binding interim target for carbon cuts of 26 to 32 percent by 2020. Failure to meet targets could land the government in court says environment minister David Milliband who is behind the draft.
But environmentalists and some lawmakers want to press for more stringent goals. Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne: “The 60% targets for cuts in carbon emission to 2050 is now looking out of-date; science says we need to go further than that.” Green campaigners want to raise the 2050 target to 80 percent and set annual three percent cut targets to ensure compliance. The government has a chance to put words into action next week in what is expected to be its final budget plan before Blair steps down.