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Miliband: UK will not let up on climate fight

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The recession will not deflect the Government's efforts to cut carbon emissions and move to a low carbon economy, Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband has said.

Speaking as the Government formally responded to the Committee on Climate Change's first annual report on carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act, Miliband said Britain stood to gain not only from a green jobs revolution, but from measures to help people cut the amount of energy they use.

The UK is on course to over-achieve on its carbon budgets – the emissions equivalent of fiscal budgets – with an estimated 36% cut on 1990 levels projected by 2020.

It is said government will not rely on the reduction in emissions brought about by the economic downturn to meet its climate targets. To reinforce this, any over-achievement in the first carbon budget due to the recession will not be carried forward to allow for higher emissions in the future.

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: "The recession will not deflect the government's efforts to cut emissions and move to a low carbon economy. We will not let up on the fight against climate change, instead we must redouble our efforts at home and internationally so the UK emerges from the global downturn building on the opportunities and benefits a low carbon future will bring."

He pointed out significant progress already made since the Low Carbon Transition Plan was published in July 2009, including in the key sectors of power generation, buildings and industry, and transport that the CCC focused on its report. Some of these key measures include

In the power sector:

– Ambitious plans for clean coal. There will be no new coal without carbon capture and storage.

– The publication for consultation of the draft energy National Policy Statements, a key element of a reformed planning system which will speed up decisions on low carbon energy infrastructure.

– Working to ensure that access to the electricity grid is not a barrier to low carbon generation. Measures include introducing new grid access arrangements, a new offshore electricity transmission regime and setting out plans for a smart grid in the UK.

– Acting to address constraints on finance for investment in the renewable energy industry as a result of the credit crunch, including a scheme operated by the European Investment Bank that is facilitating up to £9bn of investment and establishing Infrastructure UK to support deployment of low-carbon infrastructure.

– Working to ensure that the energy market framework can deliver the low-carbon investment needed to meet our targets, and will report initial findings at Budget 2010.

In homes and industry:

– Government programmes to support the installation of insulation in around two million homes in the last 18 months, and trialling new community-based and whole-house approaches to increase take-up.

– Publishing a Household Energy Management Strategy that will set out new plans to help reduce emissions from households by 29% from 2008 levels by 2020

– Settinig out details of ‘clean energy cash-back' schemes for people and businesses that generate low carbon heat and electricity.

– Looking at policy options to realise the significant potential for emissions reductions from small businesses.

– Developing new ways to encourage and support local authorities to increase their role in the transition to the low carbon economy.

To reduce emissions from transport:

– Providing an incentive from 2011 to stimulate early markets in ultra-low carbon cars

– Helping cities and regions put the necessary recharging infrastructure in place

– Continuing to encourage the uptake of sustainable travel initiatives

– Investing significantly in public transport

– Supporting cycling with £140m over three years

The government will also shortly publish its 2050 Pathways work, identifying routes to deliver its 80% reduction target in emissions by 2050, while meeting energy security goals.

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