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ten-point list of essentials

Agency chief sets out vision for low carbon Britain
Opening the Environment Agency’s annual conference on Monday, chairman Lord Smith set out a ten-point list of essentials for the UK to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050

Lord Smith calls for ‘more engineers’ and Climate Challenge Fund to meet major challenges

Environment Agency Chairman, Lord Smith, will today set out the sorts of measures that Britain must take in the next 20 years to achieve a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking at the agency’s annual conference today, he said that the UK needed “more scientists and more engineers” to develop the technology for a low carbon economy and that the UK was perfectly placed to lead the world.

He also called for a ‘Climate Challenge Fund’, with match funding from business and Government, to co-ordinate and prioritise research on combating climate change.

Lord Smith said that the Copenhagen Summit should be seen as “the crucial start to a process, not the end” and that it must achieve political agreement on cap and trade schemes across the world.

And he also outlined a range of other measures that should be developed within the next 20 years, irrespective of agreements on world emission targets. He urged Britain to lead a Green New Deal, creating more green jobs and technology to develop:

- Carbon-free energy production – a mixture of renewables, nuclear and carbon-capture and storage (CCS) for coal and gas.
- All cars, buses, lorries and trains running on electricity rather than petrol or diesel, supported by a recharging network.
- High-speed rail links across the UK and into Europe, to reduce the need for air travel.
- Minimal waste going to landfill, with emissions-free energy from waste in every area.
- Work to reduce emissions for high CO2-emitting industries, such as steel.
- High energy efficiency targets for all buildings and all major organisations.
- Personal carbon allowances for individuals.

Speaking at the Environment Agency’s annual conference, Lord Smith said:

“We have to be realistic about Copenhagen. It won’t solve all the issues. We have therefore to see it as the crucial start to a process, not the end. We need an agreement of principles and commitments that will at least give us a chance of beating the worst that climate change will bring.

“I’d like cap and trade schemes adopted around the world. And part of the agreement at Copenhagen should be to take this approach, with further development by each continent.

“Cap and trade is important, but it’s not the only show in town. Much else needs to be agreed. Such as flows of funds and technology from developed to developing nations, action to tackle other greenhouse gases and international research to find new ways of producing energy, running transport and dealing with waste.

“And if we’re serious about a low carbon economy, we will need more scientists and more engineers. Britain gave the world Newton, Darwin, Fleming and Brunel. In the new world of climate change, we will need science and engineering skills more than ever.

“How about establishing a ‘Climate Challenge Fund’ to support, co-ordinate and prioritise research work on combating climate change across leading academic institutions? Why not set it up on the principle of match funding – where every pound contributed by business is matched jointly by government and the universities? It would put Britain at the forefront of international research and make a real contribution to the solutions to climate change”