The greenest government ever? Could do better

UNICEF campaigners on The Wave, the biggest ever UK climate change march, ahead of the crucial climate summit (COP15) in Copenhagen. Credit: © UNICEF UK/2009/Hugh ReillyUNICEF campaigners on The Wave, the biggest ever UK climate change march, ahead of the crucial climate summit (COP15) in Copenhagen. Credit: © UNICEF UK/2009/Hugh Reilly

Last month, the UK Government took bold steps to justify its claim to be ‘the greenest government ever’ by accepting the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations for the UK’s Fourth Carbon Budget.

The Fourth Carbon Budget shows the UK taking forward its Climate Change Act so that the UK has emissions reduction targets beyond 2020. Specifically, it sets a limit on the total amount of greenhouse gases to be emitted by the UK between 2023 to 2027, which will be to cut Britain’s emissions by 50 per cent from 1990 levels and continue the pathway to 80 per cent emissions reduction by 2050 as agreed under the Climate Change Act.

This move shows the UK to be taking real climate leadership on domestic climate change issues and will hopefully also drive forward the push to move the EU to a 30 per cent emissions reduction target.

In 2008, UNICEF UK campaigned for the Climate Change Act and for the UK to adopt ambitious emissions reductions targets through green energy. We consequently welcome the government’s announcement on the Fourth Carbon budget and the leadership it is showing in taking the Climate Change Act forward.

These strong emissions reductions targets beyond 2020 and the existing roadmap to achieving a low carbon economy are important in ensuring that there is a greener and cleaner future for today’s children and future generations in the UK. These emission reduction targets will also ensure that the UK reduces its future contribution to global climate change which is important to ensure a safe climate for all the world’s children.

UNICEF UK believes the government should be congratulated on the leadership it is showing on domestic climate action through the Climate Change Act and the Fourth Carbon Budget which will be vital for allowing the UK’s children to survive and thrive in a changing climate.

However, it is now vital that the UK shows the same leadership in climate change to children in developing countries. That is why we are asking George Osborne and Chris Huhne to Get Children Climate Ready. This new UNICEF UK campaign asks the Government to accelerate the announcement on the UK’s commitments to ‘new and additional’ international climate finance as committed at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, and adopt a Robin Hood Tax and Bunker taxes to source this climate finance.  This will ensure that children in the most vulnerable countries have the resources needed to adapt to the impacts of climate change, ensuring that their futures are not negatively affected by the changing climate.

Take action: ask the UK Goverment to get children climate ready by supporting a Robin Hood Tax and a tax on dirty shipping and aviation fuels.

Jazmin Burgess is Climate Change Policy and Research Officer at UNICEF UK

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