The Committee on Climate Change (the UK government’s official climate change advisers) said a cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 80% by 2050 should include international aviation and shipping.
The committee, led by the former CBI head Lord Adair Turner, says that if CO2 cannot be cut sufficiently from shipping and flying, some other sector will have to make up the shortfall to ensure the overall target of 80% is met.
They said that the target was achievable at an affordable cost of between 1-2% of GDP in 2050.
In a statement, Lord Turner said: “Climate change poses a huge potential threat to human welfare.
“If we do not act soon, in developed and developing countries, it will become too late to avoid serious and potentially catastrophic consequences,” he added. “That is why it is so vital that a global deal is reached on climate change and that the UK contributes significantly towards this. But we have the potential to reduce our emissions by 80% or more by using energy far more efficiently, by investing in developing new energy sources and by making relatively minor lifestyle changes.”
Lord Turner said using energy more efficiently made economic sense as well as benefitting the environment.
Climate Change Bill
Parliament is expected soon to pass the Climate Change Bill, which will provide for the setting of carbon budgets for the UK. The first such budget will be published by the Climate Change Committee at the beginning of December.
Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “The bill currently has a loophole allowing future governments to continue to ignore these (shipping and airline) emissions – ministers must act to close it.”