Scientists urge Government: tougher CO2 cuts
Britain's leading environmental scientists call on the UK Government to commit to tougher carbon emission cuts in the Climate Change Bill in an open letter to the Government in five major UK newspapers.
The open letter to the leaders of the main political parties was published on January 21 in The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent.
The letter is written by the current Chair of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP), Sir John Lawton, and his predecessors, Sir Tom Blundell, Chair at the time of the 2000 report as well as Sir John Houghton and also the Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences Professor Norman Myers. The scientists have signed the letter in their personal capacity.
Sir John Houghton, the former Chair of Scientific Assessment for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said: "The UK has always been proud of its leadership in the issue of climate change. To keep in the lead, the Government needs to keep in step with the science that is now strongly pointing towards cuts in emissions of at least 80% by 2050 if we are to mitigate against dangerous climate change. Furthermore there is convincing modelling to show that these cuts are achievable and affordable."
The recent report, 80% Challenge: Delivering a low carbon Britain, published jointly by WWF-UK, Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), found that it is technically feasible and affordable for the UK to cut its CO2 emissions by at least 80% by 2050 - including our share of emissions from international aviation and without using new nuclear power.
Alternative solutions could lie in energy efficiency and a rapid roll out of renewable and decentralised energy, potentially combined with fossil fuel power stations equipped with working carbon capture and storage.
Recent statements by Sir Nicholas Stern, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the UN Human Development Report 2007/2008 also make clear that developed countries must make emissions reductions of at least 80% by 2050.