Prime minister Gordon Brown is to move high polluters, including, 'offices, supermarkets, commerce and public sector organisations' into the government's emissions trading scheme by 2010.
Setting out his green credentials, Brown has outlined a campaign for energy efficiency, against plastic bags and for greener forms of energy production, including, "possibly nuclear".
Just a fortnight before the climate change summit in Bali, Brown compared the challenge of global warming to the rebuilding of Europe following the Second World War.
Brown said a global trading scheme could be a huge business opportunity for the UK, "Built on the foundation of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, with the City of London its centre, the global carbon market is already worth 20 billion euros a year and could be worth twenty times that by 2030."
He said that the problem of global warming was a huge opportunity for the UK. "building our own low carbon economy offers us the chance to create thousands of new British businesses, hundreds of thousands of new British jobs and a vast new export market in which Britain can be a world leader."
"From 2010 we will also introduce carbon trading in the UK for large but less energy-intensive businesses - offices, supermarkets, commerce and public sector organisations - saving at least another 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 a year."
Brown won praise from sectors of the green community. Adam Bruce, chairman of British Wind Energy Association said, "There is a political consensus on the need for the UK to have significantly more renewable energy, but Gordon Brown’s speech today shows clearly that government is determined to get beyond “gimmickry” and transform the concept a ‘green energy Britain’ from rhetoric to being a realisable goal."
However, others in the green lobby were frustrated by Brown's lack of action so far. "However, after 10 years of talk a huge gap has opened up between the political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of wholly inadequate policy and financial support," said Wolfe, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association.
Green party speaker Caroline Lucas MEP said, "To make real headway on curbing our emissions, we need to act now. We do not have time for yet more commissions and reviews, for more political delay. Today's speech was sorely lacking in real measures to reduce our emissions," she said.