PM moots rise in carbon targets

The government may need to set a tougher target by pledging to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, Gordon Brown has warned.

In a speech at the Foreign Press Association in London, the prime minister said that climate change predictions indicate that the current target to cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 may not be ambitious enough.

He said that the new target could affect a whole spectrum of legislation, particularly The Climate Change Bill, the Energy Bill and the Planning Bill.

"Every new policy will be examined for its impact on carbon emissions - not just those which reduce emissions, but those which increase them," he said.

"And where emissions rise in one sector, we will have to achieve corresponding falls in another."

He added: "The evidence now suggests that, as part of an international agreement, developed countries may have to reduce their emissions by up to 80 per cent."

This is the first time Mr Brown has proposed tightening the domestic target to an 80 per cent cut in emissions but the final decision will be made by the independent Committee on Climate Change, which was created in March this year under the Climate Change Bill.

His pledge came as the committee considers the first three five-year budgets introduced by the bill.

Along with the proposal to beef up targets on carbon emissions, Mr Brown said he would like to see a total ban on single-use plastic bags.

He also announced a new Green Homes service, which includes a single telephone line, a user-friendly website and a network of advice centres in every region to help people gain advice on aspects such as energy efficiency, microgeneration and greener travel.

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