MPs want pre-Budget climate change focus

MPs are urging Gordon Brown to stress the importance of climate change in his pre-Budget report next Wednesday.

The environment audit committee (EAS) has called on the chancellor to focus upon climate change when he sets out the government’s spending plans for the coming months, as a preview for next March’s Budget.

Some analysts have predicted Mr Brown will increase excise duty on 4x4s and add an extra tax on flights, a move that will anger low cost airlines such as Ryanair, which says green taxes have “repeatedly failed to have any reduction effect on emissions”.

The warning comes after October’s Stern review predicted the world economy would shrink by 20 per cent due to climate change if no action is taken now. It also warned of mass emigration as 200 million people could be made homeless due to flooding.

When the review was unveiled, Mr Brown said the UK would lead the world in tackling climate change issues and would set an example to nations emitting the most carbon dioxide, such as the US, China and India.

Yesterday, the Conservatives criticised the government’s plans to deal with global warming, arguing that cutting carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, as is proposed in the new climate change bill, was not enough.

Instead, the Tories want a target of cutting emissions by 80 per cent below 1990 levels to stop global temperatures increasing by two degrees Celsius.