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scientists react to the Queen’s speech

The 2006 Queen’s Speech sets the government’s target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60% a legal requirement and outlines the establishment of a “Carbon Committee” to monitor the effort.

Professor Jeff Burley Chairman of C-Questor, said:

“I am responding on behalf of C-Questor Ltd, a company concerned with innovative marine, geological, terrestrial and silvicultural carbon sequestration and alternative energy generation. My Board is encouraged that the Government will develop a Bill related to climate change since the predicted changes pose a major threat to future human welfare. Any UK contribution to this global problem will require a balance of carrots and sticks to encourage public willingness to adopt new lifestyles and new technologies. The Government must develop tough but achievable measures that can be targeted and monitored annually. The Bill is expected to be radical and certainly needs to be and it needs cross-party political consensus. Whatever its final form, it will generate the need for new research and development of appropriate technologies.”

John Loughhead, Executive Director, UK Energy Research Centre, said:

“We welcome the fact that the 2050 carbon emission reduction target is acknowledged as a critical issue, and that it will be addressed through a Climate Change bill. We look forward with keen interest to the details on how the Government intends to reach the target and how it will monitor its progress along the way.”

Dr Jim Watson, Deputy Leader Of Tyndall Climate Change And Energy Programme, said:

“This Bill is a welcome move to put the UK’s target for a 60% reduction carbon emissions by 2050 on a statutory footing. However, a long term target is not enough. The Bill should enable the new Carbon Committee to set interim targets with penalties if these are not met. Much stronger policies to help businesses and citizens to reduce their emissions are also required. In the absence of these vital elements to ensure that we stay on track, there is a risk that the UK will lose the influence it currently has within international negotiations.”

John Field, Chairman of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)Carbon Task Force, said:

“We can not ignore climate change any longer and the developed nations must reduce their impact on the environment – showing that economic progress can be made and maintained without the high levels of carbon emissions and depletion of scarce resources that have characterised recent history.

“We welcome the growing recognition of the problem of climate change and the need for international collaboration as the only way forward. Building services engineers operate around the world and are important actors in reducing emissions through their expertise in minimising buildings energy needs and the provision of renewable energy supplies.”

Andrew Furlong, Director of Policy, Institution of Chemical Engineers, said:

“The International Chemical Engineering Community recognises that global warming is real, it’s happening right now and the causes are undoubtedly linked to CO2 emissions arising from human activity since the industrial revolution.

“We welcome the inclusion of a Climate Change Bill in the Queen’s Speech and look forward to the emergence of practical legislation that is capable of arresting climate change and securing long term energy supplies.

“The UK contributes just 2% of global CO2 emissions. Inevitably, any new legislation must have a global context and a combination of measures will be required including energy efficiency, emissions trading, CO2 capture and the faster deployment of non-fossil fuel technologies including nuclear power. Chemical engineers will make a major contribution in all of these areas.”

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