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Climate Change»Carbon Cuts Must become Governments highest priority

»Monday, September 21,2009

The green groups want the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2020, higher than the 34% the government has signed up to, and ban coal-fired power plants and an end to airport expansion.

The political parties are also being urged to commit to restoring the natural environment - including doubling the amount of woodland in the UK, providing green areas for people close to where they live and creating ''high quality landscapes'' which are rich in nature and able to cope with climate change.

The 10-point manifesto launched by the environmental groups today also includes measures on a nationwide housing re-fit to boost energy efficiency and calls on the UK to provide a fair share of money needed to help poor countries move to a low carbon economy, adapt to climate change and stop deforestation.

The green organisations want each of the political parties to back their ''common cause declaration'' which would make tackling climate change and environmental protection the ''highest priority'' of the next parliament.

It also commits the parties to taking action immediately on global warming, and to working to protect the UK's natural environment.

Stephen Hale, director of Green Alliance, said on behalf of all the groups: ''Action in the next parliament is critical if we are to simultaneously reduce our CO2 emissions whilst improving the resilience of our natural environment to avoid the looming crises of food, energy and water shortages by 2030.

"It's now or never. Support for the common cause declaration will be the threshold for credibility at the next election on environmental issues.''

And he said: ''The commitment to decisive action must be endorsed by all parties.

''The real contest will be over specific policies, so we urge them to include our 10 manifesto asks for 2010 in their forthcoming manifestos.''

The groups making the call ahead of the party conferences are: Green Alliance; Friends of the Earth; the Woodland Trust; WWF; the Wildlife Trusts; the RSPB; the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Greenpeace.




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