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MPs call for climate change minister

Central figure needed to coordinate policy

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A parliamentary committee has recommended that the government appoint a minister specifically to deal with climate change, after its review of government policy revealed that departments are not coordinating properly to deal with the issue.

The Environmental Audit Committee said there had been a "decade of failure" to tackle Britain's ever rising carbon emissions, and accused the government of not rising to the challenge.

On the plus side, it said, the government has created a cross-government Office of Climate Change and drafted the Climate Change Bill, but overall the approach was "confused" and was not effective at reducing emissions.

"Although the government has introduced some new arrangements for coordinating climate change policy more effectively across Whitehall, the scale of the challenge and the complexity involved in radically restructuring the economy to bring about the needed emission reduction targets requires further changes," the committee said in its report.

"The organic process by which the government has sought to address climate change has led to a confusing framework that cannot be said to promote effective action on reducing emissions."

For example, the government's housing policy needed to include environmental considerations to avoid the millions of new homes ordered being the "climate slums" of tomorrow. Similarly, the government's transport policy was not always in step with the need to become a lower carbon economy, the report added.

It also warned that the UK's failure to meet its own CO2 reduction targets would have a "damaging impact" on the UK's leadership role in trying to bring about a post-Kyoto international agreement.

"Ultimately, proof of the government's commitment to sustainable development and climate change will be seen in the decisions it takes and the policies it delivers," the report said.

You can read the full document here. ®

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