Climate change bill pulls through

The bill will now have a second reading
The bill will now have a second reading

The government's climate change bill - the first of its kind in the world - pulled through its first reading in the Commons yesterday despite coming under fire from environmentalists and sceptics.

The bill was granted a second reading by 3444 votes to three, but several Tory MPs stood to cast doubts on the existence of climate change, raising concerns over the party's commitment to the environment.

Andrew Tyrie MP said he had "fundamental disagreements" with parts of the bill.

"I doubt whether most of it will happen," he said.

"The bill combines some of the characteristics of the poll tax and the Dangerous Dogs Act, except on a much grander scale."

On the other side of the debate, environmental groups berated the government for not grasping the opportunity to make the bill stronger. There was criticism of carbon emission targets of 60 per cent by 2050 which environmentalists want strengthened to 80 per cent.

The groups also want aviation emissions factored into the calculations.

Friends of the Earth's parliamentary campaigner Martyn Williams said: "Ministers are ignoring advice from scientists and more than two thirds of back bench Labour MPs who are calling for the climate change bill to be strengthened.

"The government must commit the UK to an 80 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and include Britain's share of international shipping and aviation emissions."

The Lib Dems are supporting calls for an 80 per cent target while Michael Meacher, former environment minister also called on the government to take a tougher approach.


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