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Climate Change Bill published

The Government published its draft Climate Change draft Bill this week - it will be the first legislation of its kind in the world.

The Bill sets out plans to tackle climate change for the next 50 years, with clear, legally binding targets for net UK carbon dioxide emissions to reduce by at least 60% by 2050, and 26% - 32% by 2020, against 1990 levels.

However, emissions of greenhouse gasses from international aviation or shipping will not count as emissions from sources in the United Kingdom.

The Bill provides a pathway to achieve those reductions through a system of five-year carbon budgets set fifteen years ahead.

Each year, the secretary of state will report to Parliament the quantity of UK emissions and progress made.

The secretary will also periodically report on the risks from Climate Change and plans for adaptation to climate change.

The Committee on Climate Change, a new statutory body proposed in the bill, will be charged with investigating whether the 2050 target needs to be strengthened further.

Trading schemes and financial incentives have been proposed to encourage behavioural changes that will lead to low emission activities, the production of less domestic waste and more recycling.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: "This Bill is a landmark in environmental legislation and will set us firmly on the path to the low-carbon economy we know is fundamental to our future. We need to provide the framework that will give Government, businesses and individuals a clear idea of how we're going to tackle climate change.

"We also need to show the world that we're taking decisive action within our own borders, particularly ahead of the crucial talks in Bali next month where we want to launch formal negotiations on a comprehensive future climate deal that involves every major country on earth.

"This Bill shows the world that we're serious, and that we’re not asking other countries, and in particular poorer countries, to do what we're not willing to do ourselves. This is vital to our ambition to get a future deal agreed by the end of 2009," he said.

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