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Committee on Climate Change: Energy sector should be de-carbonised

The Government must tackle greenhouse gas emissions in every sector to combat climate change, said official advisors in a report published on Monday.

The report: "Building a low-carbon economy" - published by the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) - highlighted the need to reduce emissions from the international aviation and shipping industry.

But it stopped short of setting specific targets because of "unresolved issues" in allocating international emissions at a national level.

The CCC was formally established under the Climate Change Act, which received Royal Assent last week. The Committee had proposed setting UK greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The report singles out the power sector as one that could be decarbonised through developing carbon capture and storage technology – making it an economic option within 15 years.

Renewables could also provide a significant contribution, along with new nuclear power stations.

However, it advised that building conventional coal-fired facilities should only be considered where it would be retrofitted with carbon capture and storage equipment by the early 2020s.

"The reductions can be achieved at a very low cost to our economy [estimated at between 1% and 2% of the GDP]", said CCC chair Lord Turner. "The cost of not achieving the reductions, at a national and global level, will be far greater."

Prior to the new Act, the Government set a reduction target of 60% of CO2 emissions by 2050. Climate change secretary Ed Miliband said the Government would give the report "in-depth consideration" before responding and added: "From 2009, carbon budgets will take their place alongside financial budgets, and become pivotal to policy decisions within the UK."

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