Five point plan guides UK climate action

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A concerted programme of action in response to climate change is being pursued across the Government, led by DECC and DEFRA.

Starting today with the publication by DEFRA of the latest UK Climate Projections, Ministers will this summer set out the building blocks of a ‘five point plan’ designed both to reduce emissions at home and abroad and to protect and prepare for the changes that are already inevitable.

Building on its extensive programme developed over recent years, the UK Government is taking action on five fronts:

Protecting the public from immediate risk
Climate change is already happening in the UK - the ten hottest years on record have all been since 1990, the South and Southeast of England are short of water, and we have seen increased incidents of flooding. The Government has more than doubled spending on flood protection since 1997, developed a heat wave plan in the NHS and is helping communities affected by coastal erosion. This week Defra announced its coastal management policy and the Environment Agency will be setting out its investment priorities on flood protection up to 2035.
 
Preparing for the future
Whatever is done to reduce emissions in the future, past emissions mean that some climate change is already inevitable. Defra’s UK Climate Projections published today will be used to help plan for a future with a changing climate. It’s planned that 103 providers of important public services will be required to report on their assessment of climate risks and their plans to respond to these. Government Departments will also be producing Adaptation Plans by April 2010. Factoring climate risk into decision making means, for example, changing the way we build our houses and infrastructure, managing water better and adjusting farming practices.
 
Limiting the severity of future climate change through a new international climate agreement
To limit global temperature increases to no more than two degrees and avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change, the Government is leading international efforts to achieve a new international climate agreement at Copenhagen in December. We must ensure global emissions start to fall within the next decade and be at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050. Later in June the Government will set out its aims for the Copenhagen deal.
 
Building a low carbon UK
To play our part in reducing global emissions, Britain needs to become a low carbon country. The 2008 Climate Change Act made Britain the first country in the world to set legally binding ‘carbon budgets’, aiming to cut UK emissions by 34% by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050 through investment in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies such as renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage. The Government will in mid July publish a White Paper setting out how we will meet our carbon budgets while maintaining energy security, creating jobs and economic opportunities for UK firms, and protecting the most vulnerable.
 
Supporting individuals, communities and businesses to play their part
Everyone has a role to play in tackling climate change, from reducing their own emissions to planning for adaptation. Building on our ‘Act on CO2’ information campaign, the Government is providing a range of support for individuals, communities and businesses, including a major programme of financial help for home insulation and energy efficiency.
 
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
 
Over the summer, DECC, DEFRA and other UK Government departments will set out a wide range of initiatives and policies to take forward these plans:

Today - UK Climate Projections 2009
Hilary Benn publishes a sophisticated set of projections based on cutting edge science showing how the climate of the UK might change over the coming decades, based on a series of emission scenarios. The Projections reinforce both the need for the UK to adapt in order to cope with a changing climate and the pressing need to act now to limit the severity of change.
 
Late June – Publication of ‘The Road to Copenhagen’
Ed Miliband will set out the Government’s case for an ambitious global climate deal in Copenhagen, what it should look like and why it’s of vital importance for every UK citizen.
 
Summer – International Development White Paper
Douglas Alexander will publish DfID’s new White Paper setting out future plans for tackling poverty in a changing and inter-dependent world including how the UK will continue its support to developing countries affected by climate change.
 
Mid July – National Strategy for Climate and Energy
Ed Miliband and Cabinet colleagues will set out a comprehensive set of policies to meet the UK’s world-leading carbon budgets, cutting emissions by more than a third by 2020. An overarching White Paper will be accompanied by individual strategies on renewable energy, low carbon transport and a Low Carbon Industrial Strategy will help businesses in the UK take advantage of opportunities arising from the shift to low carbon, identifying key sectors and skills that will support that transition and help create jobs.
 
Throughout July – Public engagement on climate change
Everyone has a role to play and Ministers will be announcing initiatives to help individuals, communities and businesses take action. A new online Carbon Calculator will be launched, NESTA will be announcing new community projects funded by DECC and Ed Miliband will visit projects across the UK.

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