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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
UK planning law on climate change
A trawler passes icebergs in Greenland
The bill is being considered for the Queen's Speech next month
A climate change bill which could see regular targets put in place to cut UK carbon dioxide emissions is being considered by the government.

An independent system to gauge progress in reducing greenhouse gases is also likely to be included, BBC political editor Nick Robinson said.

The move follows a campaign by Friends of the Earth - supported by the Tories and Liberal Democrats - for such a law.

A Nasa study says the world is the warmest it has been for 12,000 years.

Pace of change

The climate change bill is likely to be included in next month's Queen's Speech.

Mr Robinson said a proposal, from Friends of the Earth, that ministers should be fined for missing environmental targets, would not be included.

Last month, Environment Secretary David Miliband said people "should be scared" by global warming and that more were recognising that "something funny is going on with the weather".

He has warned that the pace of action has to be much faster or carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 will be 137% higher than in 2003.

A Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said he could not comment on what would be in the Queen's speech.

But he added: "However, we think on big issues such as tackling climate change, we need to look at all the options.

"We are not interested in aspirations, but action. We are looking at whether legislation could help meet the global challenge of climate change."

Nasa scientists said last month that the world was at its warmest for the last 12,000 years as a result of rapid changes over the past 30 years.

The average temperature had increased by about 0.2C (0.4F) in each of the last three decades.

Pollution from human activity was pushing the world towards dangerous levels of climate change, Nasa warned.

Shadow Environment Secretary Peter Ainsworth said: "We need rolling annual carbon reduction targets to be agreed in parliament; an independent body to assess the science and make recommendations as that science evolves; and an annual report to parliament to ensure that ministers and civil servants are accountable."

Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Chris Huhne said: "The Climate Change Bill must include annual targets for cutting carbon emissions so that the government's efforts can be assessed, while an independent scientific body should report each year on progress.

"Climate change matters because if we don't tackle it quickly it will cost far, far more later on."

A look at targets to tackle climate change in Europe


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