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Carbon cuts targets will rule out new coal fired power plants

Christian Aid welcomes the first report from the new Committee on Climate Change, which proposes bringing UK carbon emissions down by as much as 42 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, and says the government should move swiftly to adopt and implement the recommendation.

The 42 per cent target is dependent on a global deal on emissions cuts being reached in a year’s time, when governments have to agree the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol.  Negotiators are currently meeting in Poznan, Poland for talks about what a future deal should look like.

But the committee has said that even without a global deal, the UK government should still introduce carbon emissions cuts of 34 per cent over 1990 levels by 2020.

Even the lower target would effectively rule out the building of any more coal-fired power stations such as the one proposed for Kingsnorth in Kent, unless fitted with carbon capture and storage technology.

Christian Aid has actively campaigned for at least a 40 per cent cut in UK carbon emissions by 2020, and against the building of any new coal fired power stations until carbon capture and storage mechanisms have been developed.

Paul Brannen, head of campaigns at Christian Aid said: ‘The committee’s report sounds the death knell for current coal power plans. The government has received a clear message about what needs to happen. The time for dithering has passed. Ed Milliband now needs to go away and work out how the UK will meet the climate challenge head on.

‘The committee warns that reaching the target will mean higher fuel bills as companies have to invest in renewable energy sources and meet higher carbon prices. But the costs of failing to reach the target will be far greater as the impacts of climate change worsen.’

Christian Aid urges the committee - a group of scientists, economists and businessmen set up under the new Climate Change Act to advise the government on tackling global warning – to think again about its support for carbon trading.

The committee currently envisages that as much a fifth of the 42 per cent cuts could be met by buying ‘offset credits’ from less developed countries overseas. Christian Aid believes that such a process does not take sufficient account of the responsibility rich countries bear for causing global warming in the first place. 

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For more press information, please contact Andrew Hogg on 07872 350534/0207 523 2058

Notes to Editors:

  1.Christian Aidworks in some of the world's poorest communities in more than 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.