As British politicians returned to parliament after the summer break there was a stark message on climate change from without and within Westminster.
The warnings of Greenpeace activists staging a rooftop protest were echoed in a parliamentary committee report awaiting the members. It said Britain must cut greenhouse gas emissions six times faster than at present and do more to meet carbon targets. Environmentalists say this is not news to them. Greenpeace spokesman Robin Oakley said: “Well, as MP’s come back to work today after their summer recess, there’s just a few weeks to go before the big International Climate Summit in Copenhagen. And we really need to see a step change in action on climate change if we’re going to get a breakthrough at those negotiations. At the moment we’ve got international deadlock, because rich countries like Britain, simply have not gone far enough in cutting their own emissions.” The Committee on Climate Change warned the government not to rely on the short-term effects of the recession to achieve cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. It also said Britain should aim to build up to three new nuclear power stations by 2022.