Nuclear needed to meet new UK emissions target

17 October 2008

Ed Miliband, the UK's new energy and climate change Minister, has told the Parliament that there must be investment in nuclear power if the UK is to meet its new 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.


Mr Miliband announced the new binding target for UK emissions in 2050 on Thursday. The new target was put in place following publication of a report by the independent Commission on Climate Change. The committee, established in March 2008, said that in order to keep the increase in temperature caused by climate change below two degrees Celcius it would be necessary to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 60 per cent by 2050. To play its part in reaching that goal the committee said that the UK should reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.


Noting that two thirds of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions come from the use of energy, Mr Miliband said that the present structure of the energy market was designed in a world of abundant supply, British energy self-sufficiency and low commodity prices, but that there was now international competition for resources and a need for new investment in supply; structurally higher energy prices; and an urgency about carbon emissions.


Mr Miliband said that the UK needed an energy market that secures future supply, which must include investment in nuclear power and carbon capture and storage. He also said that renewable power can play a bigger role, not just in electricity but also in heating.


Responding to a question from Anne Moffat, Labour MP for East Lothian, Mr Miliband said that he would be telling the Scottish Executive, who oppose new nuclear build, that nuclear power must be part of the energy mix.


The Committee on Climate Change will publish proposals in December for 15 years of 'carbon budgets', setting national greenhouse gas emissions goals. The government will report how it intended to meet those goals in 2009.