28 October 2008
Barrett welcomes ‘second environmental U-turn in as many weeks’
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today welcomed the Government’s second environmental U-turn in as many weeks after Ministers finally agreed to include shipping and aviation in the Climate Change Bill.
Earlier this month (16th October), following fierce campaigning by environmental groups, Minister agreed to increased the emissions reduction target for 2050 from 60% to 80% after experts warned the 60% target would be insufficient.
Ahead of the third reading of the Climate Change Bill later today the Government made a last minute concession to include emissions from aviation and shipping in the Bill in the face of an embarrassing backbench rebellion.
John Barrett said:
“This is the second environmental u-turn in as many weeks. Rather than simply doing the right the right thing, Ministers have only acted after it became clear that they would be defeated in the Commons.
“It is certainly good news that Ministers have finally acknowledged the necessity of including shipping and aviation in the emission reduction targets. However, it is frustrating that, yet again Ministers have taken so long to acknowledge what was obvious to most people many months ago.
“While the climate change department talks tough on aviation, at the same time the transport department is giving the go-ahead to massive airport expansion. We will suffer the consequences of this disjointed approach if the Government does not get serious about climate change.”
“Climate change is one of the most serious threats to our planet and requires urgent action now. We simply cannot afford another six months of dithering and delay from this government. I hope that we will now see the kind of strong leadership on the environment from this Government that is required.”
• Shipping contributes to roughly 4.5% of global emissions and is set to rise to become one of the largest single sources of manmade CO2. The aviation industry contributes to just over half of that from shipping but is set to rise.
• The Government’s Stern review from 2006 finds that between 7 million and 300 million more people would be affected by coastal flooding each year.
• The review also finds that there would be a 30-50% reduction in water availability in southern Africa and the Mediterranean, that agricultural yields would decline 15-35% in Africa, and that 20-50% of animal and plant species would face extinction.