Ministers to assess climate cost

Ministers will now be required to assess the impact on the climate of all decisions made
Ministers will now be required to assess the impact on the climate of all decisions made

Government ministers have been ordered to take into account the damage to the climate caused by all new projects.

Under the new system, the cost of damage caused to the environment will be added to the cost of every project before deciding on which scheme to pursue, thereby encouraging more environmentally-projects to be chosen.

Speaking about the initiative, climate change minister Phil Woolas said a "new currency" was being created which would have "huge implications" for the government and on judgments about the feasibility of various proposals.

The 'shadow price' of carbon - currently at £25.5 per carbon tonne - will be factored into every decision and government departments will be assessed on their compliance with the new regulation.

The cost of environmental damage, which is based on Sir Nicholas Stern's review on the economic costs of climate change, will continue to rise every year until it reaches a mark of £59.60 a tonne by 2050.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the new proposal would ensure that the social cost caused by pollution was considered in all government decisions.

Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said the new policy could help address why a third runaway was being built at Heathrow and why the road network was being expanded when the government had promised to tackle climate change.

He said the new scheme could be "a step in the right direction" if the impact of increased carbon emissions was set at an appropriate level.


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