Page last updated at 07:02 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

'One planet' pledge for Wales

The Earth (Image: AP)
Jane Davidson warned Wales risks using three planets worth of resources

An ambitious plan to reduce the impact Wales has on the environment has been announced by the assembly government.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson committed Wales to becoming a "one planet nation", using only its "fair share" of the world's resources.

The targets include an 80%-90% cut in carbon-based energy and a move towards recycling or re-using all waste.

But the Conservatives said "appalling" local council funding deals would hinder efforts to achieve the goal.

A consultation document, 'One Wales: One Planet' said the aim was to achieve the targets "within the lifetime of a generation".

A spokesman clarified the timescale envisaged as being around "30 to 40 years".

Last month, the UK Government pledged to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

The assembly government report said there was a need to "organise the way we live and work so we can travel less by car, wherever possible, and can live and work in ways which have a much stronger connection with our local economies and communities".

Using more locally grown food and in season was also proposed.

Jane Davidson

within our small nation we are using 2.7 planets worth of resources...we cannot go on like this

Jane Davidson, Environment Minister

Ms Davidson said ministers would use all their powers "from health, transport to education - to lessen Wales' environmental impact on the world and help protect our country for future generations."

"For the first time, we have committed ourselves to becoming a one planet nation - to only use our fair share of resources to sustain our lifestyles," she said.

"Wales' ecological footprint is currently 5.16 global hectares per person, compared to a global availability of 1.88 global hectares.

"It tells us that within our small nation we are using 2.7 planets worth of resources to sustain our lifestyles.

"Unchecked, this could rise by 20% by 2020, the equivalent of 3.3 planets worth of resources.

"We cannot go on like this," Ms Davidson added.

Earlier in November, the minister launched a "green charter" with 40 construction industry bodies to cut carbon emissions.

80-90% cut in carbon-based energy use
move towards 'zero waste' by recycling/re-using
change the way we live and work to cut car travel
make sustainable development a core objective of NHS Wales
support more sustainable development schemes in education
use more local produce and in season
reduce the gap between rich and poor
tackle child and fuel poverty
Source: Welsh Assembly Government 'One Wales: One Planet'

Friends of the Earth Cymru said a 90% reduction in use of carbon-based energy was "ambitious" but "absolutely necessary", given the scientific evidence on the seriousness of the threat from climate change.

Campaigner Haf Elgar said it was "doubtful whether this 90% target can be achieved quickly enough by the Welsh Assembly Government's current commitment to 3% annual reductions".

"We have to look seriously at the 9% cuts being considered by the (assembly) government's own Climate Change Commission," she added.

The Conservatives accused the minister of offering "hollow promises" rather than action.

Party environment spokesman Darren Millar said: "The minister has yet to fulfil her pledges on the devolution of building regulations and new powers over large energy developments, environmental protection, and waste management.

"Without these there is little prospect of delivery on today's pledges."

Consultation on the plan is due to run until 4 February.

Urban planning needs green rethink
29 Apr 08 |  Science & Environment
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27 Feb 07 |  Science & Environment

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