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Environment: Committee says Government should forge ahead on climate change

A leading committee has told the Government that it should forge ahead with its bid to meet ambitious climate change targets, by producing new laws and regulations to tackle carbon dioxide emissions, reports the BBC.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has told the UK Government in a report that no new scientific evidence produced so far justifies any slackening of efforts to cut UK carbon emissions.

The report was produced after the Chancellor George Osborne suggested that the UK's place in leading the world in tackling carbon emissions was likely to harm the UK's economic competitiveness on the world stage.

However, the CCC say that the UK is not 'leading the world' in the field of carbon reduction policy, and cited the example of China as the new world leader in clean technologies.

"China is leading the low-carbon revolution. It has committed to invest in 700 Gigawatts of renewable power generation by 2020 - that's ten times the whole UK power system," David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC, told the BBC.

The report points out that due to shale gas, the United States is likely to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions by 17% by 2020.

The CCC was launched to help the UK Government meet its target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

In response to the report a Treasury spokesman said: "We want to tackle climate change, but it should be done in a way that doesn't put huge costs on people's energy bills or destroys manufacturing jobs. The shale gas revolution in America shows you can reduce carbon emissions, bring bills down and create jobs."

The UK's Climate Change Act makes it hard for governments to duck responsibilities to lower carbon emissions by requiring a change in either the science base or in international action before a UK Government can alter its policies.

The CCC report concludes that no such change has taken place and urges the Government to continue to legislate to achieve its carbon emissions goals.