News | Published October 17 2019

Prime minister to chair climate change committee

Boris Johnson is to chair a committee to focus on reducing government emissions.

The decisions comes after departments have been criticised for failing to respond to climate change, with the Department for Transport being particularly singled out.

The Environment Bill, released earlier this week, is intended to focus on improving the quality of water and air, in addition to responding to plastic pollution.

The decision also allows for a new regulator to bring the government to court if the green targets are not met.

The environmental campaign group, Greenpeace, allege they have found considerable loopholes in the bill.

They claim that the date set out is October 31 2022, however, that the government has given themselves 15 years to reach the goals created.

The earliest date the government could be take to court is therefore 2037 and the interim targets for government would not be legally binding.

Greenpeace UK representative, Rebecca Newsom asked: “What good are legally-binding targets if they can’t be enforced for almost two decades?”

She continued: “Boris Johnson may have long since retired and the youth climate strikers at least doubled in age by the time the government is required to meet its environmental obligations in 2037.”

The government responded that the targets were reasonable, and it was normal to set targets in the future.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, stated “Given the scale of the challenges we face our targets have to be ambitious and deliver sustainable results. And we will need to give businesses and the public sufficient time to make the necessary changes to help us get there.

They continued "As part of the proposals in the bill this, and any future government, would have to report annually on its progress to the independent Office for Environmental Protection which will hold the government to account to make sure it is on track."

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
October 17 2019

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