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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 21:41 GMT
Climate change speech: reaction
Politicians and campaigners give their verdict on Gordon Brown's first major speech on the environment as prime minister.

CAROLINE LUCAS, GREEN PARTY

"Six months in the job of prime minister, and Brown has finally got around to talking about climate change. Whilst I welcome plans to consider tightening the 60% target, the government is playing catch-up - and asking another committee to look at the figures won't help. To make real headway on curbing our emissions, we need to act now. We do not have time for yet more commissions and reviews, for more political delay. Today's speech was sorely lacking in real measures to reduce our emissions."

KEITH ALLOTT, WWF UK

"In March, Tony Blair committed the government to an EU target for 20% of Europe's energy to come from renewables. Since then the government - and particularly the dinosaurs in the DBERR (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) have tried to wriggle out of it. It is good to see Gordon Brown recommit to this and get the renewables revolution back on track."

PETER AINSWORTH, CONSERVATIVES

"Gordon Brown's record on the environment so far has consisted of missing targets, then scrapping them, then cutting the budgets that deal with them. Just this weekend, we learnt of a further 300m of crippling cuts to key environmental services. Until Gordon Brown learns that tough action is needed to back up his warm words, he cannot be the change the country needs."

CHRIS HUHNE, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

"It's good news that the government will not renege on its EU renewable energy targets. But we need to look at the small print to see whether Mr Brown is really prepared to meet 20% of our energy from renewables without counting nuclear power as the French are doing. The government blithely talks of the opportunities created by green industries yet refuses to promote fledgling initiatives properly. Boasts of a new Green Home Service seem shallow when recent cuts to the New Millennium Grants will dissuade many homeowners from installing energy saving measures in their homes."

CORIN TAYLOR, TAXPAYERS' ALLIANCE

"Gordon Brown should be very wary of slapping further taxes and costly regulations onto the British economy. The evidence suggests that UK taxpayers are already paying more than enough tax to offset their carbon emissions, and further taxation will lead to suspicion that the government is simply milking the issue to fill the black hole in their accounts. If the stated aim is to have a vibrant economy capable of adapting and developing to the challenges of the 21st Century then taxes and regulations will only limit our versatility and hobble our competitiveness."

TONY JUNIPER, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

"After a summer of lobbying, wriggling and confusion, the government's apparent change of heart on renewable power is fantastic news, but will only be credible if new policies emerge to actually meet targets. Britain lags a long way behind most of our European neighbours on renewable power, despite having the greatest wind, wave and tidal resource in Europe. We should be able to contribute our fair share of the EU-wide renewable energy commitment and source at least 20% of our energy from renewables by 2020."

JOHN SAUVEN, GREENPEACE

"Brown now appears to be serious about meeting the binding EU renewables targets. But more debate won't get us there. Action is what counts, not words. No investment will take place off the back of a speech alone. We can meet ambitious renewable energy targets if Britain deploys all the industrial innovation and determination for which our country was once famous. We need to find, fund and fast-track the Brunels of the 21st Century. This will mean a joint effort from private sector and government, and a renewable industrial policy for Britain."

SIMON RETALLACK, INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY

"Gordon Brown's speech shows that he is taking the challenge of building a low-carbon economy seriously. His commitment to the EU renewables target for 2020 will revolutionise energy production in Britain. It will result in three times more energy being produced in the UK from renewable sources than the current policies would deliver. Now the prime minister needs to take the serious action needed to achieve it and ensure that a commitment to tackling climate change is at the heart of all government departments."

PHIL BLOOMER, OXFAM

"It's positive that the prime minister has raised the bar ahead of the Bali conference by talking about an 80% cut in UK carbon emissions by 2050. Oxfam believes that only an 80% cut in rich countries' emissions will be enough to stop the worst impacts of climate change. The world's poorest people - already hard hit by climate change - depend upon rich countries like the UK moving first and fastest to set a clear course for a low carbon economy."

MARK AVERY, RSPB

"The RSPB will rise to the prime minister's challenge to carry the public with us in our efforts to tackle climate change but the government must help us do that by proving it cares about the natural environment too. Renewables need not and must not come at the expense of wildlife. Ministers have clocked this for biofuels, now they must clock it for everything else by including green safeguards in the climate change, planning and energy bills."

PEN HADOW, ARCTIC EXPLORER AND ENVIRONMENTALIST

"It has taken world leaders far too long to acknowledge that time really is running out - despite the accumulating evidence, including the potential disappearance of the Arctic ice cap. It is to be hoped that all governments will go at least as far as Gordon Brown has today in tackling climate change by reducing emissions. The UN meeting in Indonesia next month will be a golden opportunity for leaders to show their commitment to halting the disastrous impact of global warming."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Excerpt from Gordon Brown's speech on the environment



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