The Climate Change Bill entered parliament on November 15, 2007. The UK is the first country in the world to set out legally binding targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions. Currently goals are set to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 starting with rolling them back 26-30% by 2020 against 1990 levels.
The 2020 and 2050 targets are broken down into carbon budgets for five year periods starting in 2008. No more than 1% of the carbon budget can be carried over into the next term. Unfortunately emissions from aviation and shipping are not currently included.
Two keys elements of the Bill are of particular interest to local authorities: financial incentives to pilot innovative waste reduction plans and initiating carbon trading schemes.
At the moment local authorities are unable to use financial incentives to encourage residents to reduce waste. However Defra has committed £1.5 million over three years to pilot a series of projects. As 70% of emissions cuts will have to be made locally, local authorities cannot wait until 2010 for Carbon ReductionCommitment (measuring, monitoring and trading their emissions) to be established. Climate change must be on everyone’s agenda now.