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Carbon Plan published
The task of rebalancing the UK economy away from carbon is well-progressed and is set to result in greater energy security and the development of new innovative technologies, the Government's Carbon Plan showed this week.

Emissions in the UK must by law be cut by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. The Carbon Plan sets out progress to date and assesses cost-effective next steps. It shows:

• that UK emissions have already been cut by more than 25% on 1990 levels
• that with the policies already in place the economy will significantly exceed the 34% target set for the first 15 years under the Climate Change Act, and would have done so even if the recession had not occurred
• that meeting the fourth carbon budget of a 50% cut in emissions by the mid-2020s will not have any additional cost implications during this Parliament, but beyond that will require a decade of mass deployment of key technologies

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "Publishing the Carbon Plan sends two crucial messages: to the negotiators in Durban working this week and next to make progress on a global agreement on climate change, the Carbon Plan shows the UK is walking the walk, demonstrating that it can be done and living up to our promise to show climate leadership; [and] to the public and businesses at home, rightly worried about the cost of living and state of the economy, the Carbon Plan shows that the gradual rebalancing of our economy away from carbon is achievable and, in the long run, highly desirable.”

The Carbon Plan focuses in on viable ways of meeting the fourth carbon budget – getting to a 50% cut in emissions by the mid-2020s. The 2020s, the government said, will be the decade of mass deployment of key technologies:

• making our buildings lower carbon – up to around a half of the heat used in our buildings will need to be low carbon by 2030
• reducing emissions from transport including through ultra-low emission vehicles – the average emissions of new cars will need to fall by at least a half by 2030
• decarbonising our power supply through 40-70 GW of new low carbon generating capacity including the equivalent of three to five twin reactor stations of the type recently applied for at Hinkley Point C, 3-5 times as much renewable power than currently installed and CCS technology on up to 10GW of fossil fuel plant, equivalent to fitting capture technology to generation capacity that is two and a half times the size of the UK’s largest coal-fired power station.

However, UK-GBC said the plan itself is disappointing in its lack of ambition when it comes to refurbishing our building stock, focusing mostly on the 'low hanging fruit' until the next decade.

Paul King said: "While we welcome the focus on rolling out low carbon heat, when there's so much we can achieve in terms of creating new jobs, saving energy, reducing fuel poverty and increasing energy security through achieving radical reductions in energy use in buildings sooner rather than later, The Carbon Plan lacks vision and the ambition to stimulate rapid green growth."