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MPs in call for new climate body
10-29-2007, 06:19 AM,
MPs in call for new climate body
Quote:A powerful new body must be established to drive climate change policy after a decade of failure by the government, a Commons committee has said.

In a report, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) said the government had not risen fully to the challenge.

It voiced concern at the government's likely failure to meet its own targets to cut CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010.

This would damage the UK's lead role in efforts to reach a new international climate change agreement, it warned.

The EAC was first established in November 1997 to look at the environmental impact of all Government departments.

The latest recommendations were outlined in its Structure of Government and the Challenge of Climate Change report, which is published on the day that Environment Secretary Hilary Benn is due to give his response to consultation on the draft Climate Change Bill.

It welcomed the draft Bill and the creation of the cross-government Office of Climate Change last year as positive moves.

But it said the frameworks in government for dealing with climate change were "confused" and did not promote effective action on reducing emissions.

And it highlighted transport policy and rapidly-rising vehicle ownership in Britain as an example of the government's failure to ensure departments talk to each other constructively about climate change policy.

The committee called for a Climate Change and Energy secretariat, based in the Cabinet Office, to lead the government's policy and cut inter-departmental conflict.

'Climate slums'

It also called for the creation of a cross-departmental climate change minister who could attend Cabinet meetings.

The government must develop long-term policy frameworks to make sure decisions made today did not hinder future emissions reductions, it added.

This was particularly important in light of the government's house building plans, the committee warned.

The EAC's chairman Tim Yeo said: "The UK must be equipped to meet both the challenge of a carbon constrained world and the likely climate change impacts that will occur.

It would be disastrous if bad planning policy meant that today's new housing developments become tomorrow's "climate slums," he said.
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