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UK government setting emission limits

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The Government is set to announce that it has agreed to ambitious targets for emissions cuts into the 2020s, after a Cabinet rift on the issue.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, currently at the centre of claims he persuaded someone else to take speeding penalty points on his behalf, will announce that the UK is to adopt plans to cut emissions by 50% on 1990 levels by 2025.

Fears that ministers would reject the Committee on Climate Change’s proposals for pollution limits in the fourth “carbon budget” prompted an outcry from environmentalist groups in recent days.

The carbon budget runs from 2023 to 2027, part of efforts to meet legally binding emissions cuts of 80% by 2050, and will put the UK on target for 60% cuts by 2030.

A letter leaked last week appeared to expose a row between ministers. Business Secretary Vince Cable apparently argued for less ambitious reductions in the 2020s because the targets could limit economic growth.

After the letter emerged, a coalition of environmental bodies issued a warning to Prime Minster David Cameron that he risked seriously undermining his pledge to lead the “greenest government ever” if he did not back the targets.

Labour leader Ed Miliband had also seized on the evidence of internal disagreement, writing to the Prime Minister to say failing to agree them would send “a terrible signal” to business and the rest of the world.

But over the weekend Mr Cameron was reported to have stepped in to resolve the fraught battle within the Cabinet, with a decision to support the targets.

Before Tuesday’s announcement, Keith Allott, WWF-UK’s head of climate change, said: “No other country has set legally binding emission-reduction targets going into the 2020s, and so with this decision the UK is demonstrating genuine leadership on climate change.

“The Climate Change Act remains a groundbreaking piece of legislation that, with support, will underpin the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Source: Press Association

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