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UK Low Carbon Transition Plan

Today the Government has published the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan (http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/publications/lc_trans_plan/lc_tran... , a route map to a low carbon country. The Transition Plan is the most systematic response to climate change of any major developed economy, and sets standards for others in the run up to crucial talks in Copenhagen in December.

Alongside the Plan, the Government has also published:

The Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, which sets out active active interventions to support industries critical to tackling climate change http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/publications/lc_trans_plan/lc_tran...

The Renewable Energy Strategy, which maps out how we will deliver the UK's renewable energy target by 2020: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/publications/lc_trans_plan/lc_tran...

The Low Carbon Transport Plan, which sets out how to reduce carbon emissions from domestic transport over the next decade: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/publications/lc_trans_plan/lc_tran...

More information on the UK Transition Plan and related documents is available in the publications section of this site or the HMG Low Carbon website[external Link].

Energy and climate change White paper also due

http://www.decc.gov.uk/

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Government maps low-carbon road
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

A huge expansion of wind power, home insulation and "smart" electricity meters are among measures being planned to build the UK's low-carbon future.

Ministers hope their Carbon Transition Plan will help them meet 2020 targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and expanding renewable energy.

Campaigners say the plan is a chance for the UK to lead on climate change.

The government admits consumers will pay more for energy, but believes that overall the economy can benefit.

Up to £120m will go towards developing the offshore wind power sector, and £60m on wave and tidal technologies.

“ We know the world is switching to low carbon, and Britain needs to be at the forefront ”
Ed Miliband

There is support for research on nuclear energy, and £10m will be spent on accelerating infrastructure for recharging electric vehicles.

The full plan is due to be published later on Wednesday.

The Low Carbon Transition Plan and its associated measures will plot a path towards the national target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 34% from 1990 levels by 2020.

Government figures say emissions have already fallen by 22% from 1990.

They are also designed to point the economy towards EU targets for 2020 of a 15% share of energy from renewables and a 20% increase in energy efficiency.

Beyond that, the government has set a goal of slashing emissions by 80% by 2050 - a goal that was adopted by the G8 group of nations earlier this month.

As well as tackling climate change, the government believes changing to a low-carbon economy will help create jobs and industries.

"We think the environmental industries in Britain can generate about an extra 400,000 jobs by 2015," Climate and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband told BBC News.

"We think there are big, big opportunities, and actually I think it's something people want to hear - what is the post-recession economy going to look like and where are the jobs going to come from - and we know the world is switching to low carbon, and Britain needs to be at the forefront."

Leadership ambitions

In April, Chancellor Alistair Darling formally announced that the UK would live within "carbon budgets" - limits on emissions - just as it attempts to live within financial budgets.

EXPECTED MEASURES

Smart meters in every home
Easier, more flexible loan schemes for home insulation
Better financial incentives for home electricity generation
Measures to facilitate up to 7,000 new wind turbines
Incentives for cycling and electric vehicles
The budgets were recommended by the government's advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), in December; and the key figure - which the government has accepted - is the 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions 2020.

However, many observers say that the renewables sector is currently growing far too slowly to meet the 15% target, and want ministers to be specific about how they will encourage green businesses.

"We will be looking for hard policy content and rapid delivery timetables from Wednesday's documents," said Gaynor Hartnell, policy director of the Renewable Energy Association (REA)

"The encouraging rhetoric we are now hearing from (Energy and Climate Secretary) Ed Miliband and the Prime Minister on the vital importance of our industry must translate into practical and rapid measures."

The Low Carbon Transition Plan - a white paper - is accompanied by:

a Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, focussing on "green growth" in industry and business
a Renewable Energy Strategy detailing how the UK will meet its 15% target
Low Carbon Transport: a Greener Future, outlining the transport sector's contribution to greenhouse gas reductions

Environmental campaigners have long criticised the government as being long on international rhetoric but short on action.

But the low-carbon strategy, many believe, is a chance for the UK to show the rest of the world that it is serious about cutting emissions, and that economic benefits can accrue.

Governments are currently discussing elements of a prospective major new deal on combating climate change, which is supposed to be finalised at a UN climate summit in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

"The government has a unique opportunity to... show bold international leadership ahead of crucial UN climate negotiations by setting out a detailed route map for slashing UK emissions," said Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth UK.

"Seizing the green initiative will create exciting new jobs and business opportunities through ambitious measures to cut energy waste and develop the UK's vast green energy potential."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/8150919.stm
© BBC MMIX