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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 05:42 GMT 06:42 UK
Party climate targets 'lacking'
Dinas Dinlle, Gwynedd  Crown copyright: Royal Commission on the ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
The Welsh coastline could be under threat from rising sea levels
A leading climatologist has accused all of Wales' main political parties of lacking ambition on combating greenhouse gas emissions.

University College London Professor Mark Maslin said many targets in their assembly election manifestos were below those of central government.

He warned Wales could be "left behind" on tackling global warming despite having "several natural advantages".

The parties said their policies were robust and would make a difference.

All four of them have put green issues at the forefront of their campaigns.

Professor Maslin, who was commissioned by BBC Wales to examine the four main parties' manifesto pledges, said that some of the parties appear to be unaware of the targets being set at a UK level for cutting CO2 emissions.

"They're in danger of being left behind with these pledges," he said.

"I think the parties could go much further... particularly as all the parties are very keen on renewable technologies like wind and tidal power, which are perfect for Wales."

It's important to set higher targets because historically, governments fall short of them
Professor Maslin

He has called on them to set higher targets to help combat global warming.

Professor Maslin said that, while he was encouraged that all four parties were discussing the problems of climate change, there was a "lack of detail" on how many of their measures would be implemented.

He is also warning that the parties' policies on transport, which result in up to 30% of emissions, should be stronger.

"From the manifestos, it seems to me that the parties are avoiding some big problems like - how do you deal with business and transport which make up a large proportion of the emissions," he said.

"You need to set targets that match or go beyond central government and you need to show how you will achieve them.

"Ambitious aim"

"It's important to set higher targets because historically, governments fall short of them - if you set yourself an ambitious aim, then have a range of policies to achieve it - some will work, some will not, it's a fact of political life."

All four parties maintained that their policies would reduce Wales' carbon footprint.

Plaid said its policy towards climate change was "both realistic and ambitious" and it would aim to reduce carbon emissions annually by 3%.

A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said it believed acting locally made a difference globally and that the Assembly's new powers would give them the opportunity to prioritise the environment.

The Lib Dems said it set the "toughest green targets" of the parties and wanted to generate 100% of Wales' energy from renewable sources.

A Labour spokesman said it would be re-committing to a 20% cut in carbon emissions by 2020, which would see 20% of energy generation coming from renewable sources and a 20% reduction in energy demand.

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