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Friends of the Earth on the budget - "not green"

May 1, 2009 10:00 AM

According to Friends of the Earth Alistair Darling has squandered a huge opportunity to create a low-carbon economy and create thousands of green jobs by investing in renewable energy and cutting energy waste on the scale required.

The environmental campaign group also warned that legally-binding, short-term targets for cutting UK emissions - which were announced today as part of the Chancellor's Budget package - are far too weak to enable the UK to play its part in avoiding dangerous climate change.

Failure to tackle climate change puts Britons at risk from the flooding, drought, rising sea levels, resource wars and economic and food supply collapse that runaway global warming would cause.

Setting a low target for cutting emissions also puts Britain in a weak position to provide leadership at crucial UN talks on a new climate deal at Copenhagen later this year, where Friends of the Earth is calling on rich nations to agree to cut their emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 through action at home, not offsetting.

Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said: "The Government has squandered a historic opportunity to kick-start a green industrial revolution, create tens of thousands of jobs and slash UK carbon dioxide emissions.

"The green sheen on this year's budget will do little to disguise the fact that yet again the Government has merely applied a sticking plaster to a low-carbon industry on life support.

"The Government should be sprinting towards a low carbon future - instead it's limping along.

"The social, environmental and economic costs of failing to rapidly cut emissions will dwarf the current financial problems we face - Ministers must urgently re-think their approach to climate change ahead of crucial UN talks in Copenhagen later this year."

Commenting on publication today of legally-binding, short-term UK targets for tackling climate change Andy Atkins, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth,

said:

"Setting the first ever carbon budgets is a ground-breaking step - but the Government has ignored the latest advice from leading climate scientists and set targets that are completely inadequate.

"A 42 per cent cut by 2020 is the minimum required if we are to play our part in avoiding dangerous climate change. And this should be achieved by action at home

A more detailed analysis by Friends of the Earth of the Budget's impact on the environment is available at:

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/budget2009analysis.pdf