Climate Change Targets
In March 2007, at the end of EU summit in Brussels, the EU leaders pledged to cut overall levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent with the year 2020 as their deadline and the year 1990 as the baseline. The leaders also agreed to a separate binding target of obtaining 20 percent of their energy needs through green sources by 2020. Significantly enough, the UK passed a legislation, the Climate Change Act 2008 that is the world’s first legally binding framework to tackle the dangers of climate change. The Climate Change Bill that was introduced in Parliament on 14th November 2007 became a law on 26 November 2008 (Climate Change Act 2008).
The key provisions of the Act include legally binding targets, a carbon budgeting system, the creation of a committee on climate change, international aviation and shipping emissions, use of international credits, an adaptation sub-committee of the committee on climate change among several others (Climate Change Act 2008).
Besides, the Act vests the government with powers to introduce domestic emissions trading schemes quickly and easily through secondary legislations; measures on bio-fuels, powers to introduce pilot financial incentive schemes in England for household waste; powers to require a minimum charge for single use carrier bags (excluding Scotland). On adaptation, the Act mandates the government to report at least every five years on the risks to the UK of climate change, and publish a programme setting out how these impacts will be addressed. The Act also introduces powers for government to require public bodies and statutory undertakers to carry out their own risk assessment and make plans to address those risks. The adaptation Subcommittee of the Committee on Climate Change will offer advice to and scruitiny of the government’s adaptation work. The governement is also required to issue a guidance on the way the companies should report their greenhouse gas emissions (Climate Change Act 2008).
In keeping with the provisions of the Act, the government has already taken some significant steps and is likely to take further steps in very near future. The Committee on Climate Change was established as an independent body on 1st December 2008. The Committee on Climate Change offered its advice to government on the level of the first three carbon budgets and its full review of the 2050 target.