UK government urged to include aviation and shipping in climate target

07/11/2012

The influential parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee is urging the UK government not to exclude aviation and shipping from the countrys 2050 climate target.

In a letter to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Department for Transport, and the Treasury, Committee chair Tim Yeo said that leaving out emissions from aviation and shipping would water down the target, as set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act.

He said,

The aim of the Climate Change Act was to demonstrate British leadership in the international effort to avoid a global temperature rise of 2C, widely regarded as a dangerous potential tipping point for the climate, says Yeo. If aviation and shipping emissions are now excluded, the overall target reduction for all other sectors would need to be increased from 80% to around 85%.

Aviation and shipping only contribute a small proportion of the UKs total emissions. However, these are growing strongly.

The sectors were initially left out of the Climate Change Act because of the complexity of accounting for their emissions.

In addition, the legislation includes a clause requiring the government to consider whether emissions from the two sectors should be included by the end of the year.

Tim Yeo also warned that continuing to exclude aviation and shipping would send a poor message to the world about the governments stance on climate change, as well as putting an extra burden on other sectors to deliver larger emission cuts.

He also warned that failing to keep temperature rises to 2C would risk floods, mass migration, economic disruption and chaos.

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