UK's New 'Green' Govt Says to Cut Its CO2 10 Pct
Saturday, 15 May 2010

Britain's central government will cut its emissions of climate-warming carbon by 10 percent in the next 12 months, while speeding up the wider move to a low-carbon economy, the new UK Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday.

"I don't want to hear warm words about the environment. I want to see real action. I want this to be the greenest government ever," the Conservative leader of Britain's first coalition government since 1945 told staff at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

"If we do this, we'll cut the government's energy bills by hundreds of millions of pounds ... In fact, we've made a good start. Someone pointed out when you mix blue with yellow - you get green."

The environment was a key part of the yellow-flagged Liberal Democrat election campaign, and the Conservative-led government announced several carbon cutting plans on Wednesday.

The new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne, said on Thursday his party had agreed not to vote against new nuclear power stations as part of its compromise to do a deal with the blue flag waving Tories.

"The benefits of the low carbon economy are agreed between both parties, this is a priority agenda common to both manifestos," Huhne said.

"I intend to make decisions put off for too long to fundamentally change how we supply and use energy in Britain ... To give the power industry the confidence it needs to invest in low carbon energy projects."

UK energy regulator Ofgem said in February Britain's energy markets needed to be radically redesigned to spur hundreds of billions of pounds of investment in low-carbon technologies, from wind and solar to nuclear, a view shared by utilities.

Most of Britain's ageing nuclear power plants are scheduled to shut over the next decade and the previous Labour government has been pushing private companies to build new ones as part of a low carbon power generation mix -- a policy supported by the Conservatives but not the Lib Dems.

Europe's biggest utilities have been lining up to build the plants, paying hundreds of millions of pounds for farmland to build them on, but want higher long-term charges on rival gas and coal fired power plants to support their multi-billion pound investments.

The coalition said on Wednesday it would introduce a minimum charge for emitting carbon but it remains unclear whether it will be high enough to have a significant impact on the economics of building a nuclear power plant.


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