Responding to the Energy and Climate Change Secretary's announcement that the Government has agreed a deal to set the fourth carbon budget, committing the UK to a 50 per cent cut in greenhouse gases - compared with 1990 levels - by 2025, Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
After weeks of dramatic politicking and bitter Cabinet clashes, I welcome this deal on the fourth carbon budget, setting the UK's long term climate targets in line with the recommendations of the independent Committee on Climate Change.
But the fact that this budget, which ironically will cost the Government nothing during this Parliamentary term, was ever in danger hints at the ferocity of anti-green resistance within the Coalition - especially in the Treasury, making a mockery of George Osborne's pre-general election claim that it would, under his Chancellorship, be "a green ally, not a foe".
Furthermore, this deal is seriously flawed thanks to the Government's failure to heed CCC advice on three crucial points. First, it has refused to toughen up the existing targets for 2013-2023, making the fourth budget harder and more costly to achieve.
Second, officials have slipped in a concessionary review clause which will allow the Government to backtrack on the fourth carbon budget in 2014 - reducing long term certainty on emissions reductions and potentially harming investor confidence in green technologies.
And finally, on the crucial issue of how we now meet the targets, the Government has shunned the CCC's recommendation that the budget should be met through domestic action alone. Allowing the use of trading mechanisms such as offsetting essentially means outsourcing our emission reduction responsibilities to other countries - thereby weakening the drive to achieve more green technologies and industries, with all the jobs those can bring, here in the UK.