London, England — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 16 May 2011 – British cabinet ministers have agreed to a legally binding deal which will drastically cut green house emissions over the next two decades.
Reporting this here, “The Observer” newspaper said the independent committee on climate change had recommended that by 2030 emissions should be slashed by 60% relative to 1990 levels.
Energy secretary Chris Huhne will announce this week that the government will accept the recommendations of the committee in full up to 2027 after tense arguments between ministers, the paper said.
The paper said the deal put Britain ahead of all other states in terms of the legal commitments it was making to curb carbon emissions.
The deal to accept the committee’s advice on the fourth carbon budget covering the period 2023-27 was reached after Prime Minister David Cameron stepped in, the paper added.
Finance minister George Osborne and Business secretary Vince Cable had reportedly expressed opposition to the proposals, concerned about the cost and potential impact on the economy.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change told Reuters the government would publish its fourth carbon budget this week, but would not go into details. Businesses such as offshore wind technology are being tipped to profit.
Environmental groups responded cautiously to the report.
The deal is likely to be seen as a victory for the traditionally green Liberal Democrats, the junior party in the Conservative-led coalition government, and its energy secretary.
Ministers believe that major companies involved in developing offshore wind technology could now be keener to invest in Britain, the Observer said.
The committee says about 16 billion pounds would need to be invested annually through the 2020s and new policies would be needed, including fundamental reform of the electricity market.