UK Divulges Low-Carbon Transition Policy

UK climate minister, Ed Miliband, released the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan today.

I haven’t had a chance to read it in its entirety, but the Guardian has a good rundown of its proposals.

The main goal is to reach a midterm (2020) target of a 34% reduction below 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions.  Half of the reductions are to take place in the electricity sector, which will mean that 40% of power will be generated in a low-carbon fashion (which includes nuclear).

Other tools used to reach the goal will be to increase energy efficiency in buildings and strive to have at least 1.5 million households produce energy.

Also given significant focus is the transportation sector, which is scheduled to cut its emissions by 14% through various policies.   One component that stuck me as interesting is a proposed $47 million competition for a “Sustainable Travel City” which would fund improvements in a British metropolitan area to serve as a national showpiece.   Putting significant money behind a best-practices model could spur other cities to emulate successful low-carbon transport policies.

This type of mid-term commitment will give the UK influence at the Copenhagen talks later this year–particularly given the slow and relatively unambitious efforts going on in Washington.  There is a lot that leaders in other developed countries can learn from this plan–particularly the US Senate as it deliberates over the American Clean Energy and Security Act.