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MPs call for carbon emissions cap

MPs have called for a carbon emissions cap for energy firms to be added to the Energy Bill.

The cross-party environmental audit committee said the move was necessary to encourage investors to back renewables projects.

An attempt by Conservative MP Tim Yeo to amend the Bill by adding in provisions for a carbon cap was narrowly defeated in the House of Commons in June.

But the committee last week insisted the switch to renewable energy had to speed up dramatically if the UK is to meet future carbon reduction targets.

“In light of the evidence we have received in our inquiry, during the passage of the Energy Bill, the government should reconsider setting a decarbonisation target now for 2030,” said the commmittee.

The committee said the UK would meet its carbon targets for the five-year periods to 2012 and 2017 because of lower activity during the economic downturn.

But it warned that the country was behind schedule with attempts to decarbonise transport, buildings and heat production to meet targets for 2022 and 2027.

The MPs said evidence from independent advisory body the Committee on Climate Change was that introducing renewable heat technologies was “central” to meeting these later carbon budgets.

Renewables accounted for just 2% of the market in 2012 – against 12% envisaged by 2020 in the Government’s Renewable Energy Action Plan, the environmental audit committee said.

The committee also warned the government not to water down future carbon budgets.

It said the targets represented the minimum action required to avoid a dangerous 2°C temperature rise.

Energy secretary Ed Davey said the government would “consider” the report.

“The UK takes its obligations under the Climate Change Act – to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 – extremely seriously,” he said.

Senior climate change experts told NCE earlier this month that engineers must seek out and grasp the opportunities presented by global warming.

The call came after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared it “extremely likely” that human influence had caused temperatures to rise over the past 60 years.

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