British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is being urged by one of his cabinet members to reduce his country's recent commitment to European Union climate change targets, according to a British newspaper report citing leaked government documents.
The Guardianreported Tuesday that thedocument prepared for Brown by Business Secretary John Huttonquestionsthe cost and practicality ofthe EU's latestclimate change agreement, whichrequires20 per cent of all European energy to come from renewable sources such as wind, wave and solarpower projects.
In the document, Hutton warns there are"severe practical difficulties"with the target, including an estimated cost ofmore than $8 billion US toboost the level ofBritain's ownrenewable energy capabilities tonine percent from its current two per cent level by the 2020 deadline.
Thepaper also warned Britain could suffer "a potentially significant cost in terms of reduced climate change leadership" if it was seen to be diluting agreements on the fight against global warming, the Guardian said.
It alsohas Huttonadvising the government tolink up withEastern European countries such as the Czech Republicand Poland —which have been resistant to the accord's targets over concerns such measures would damage their economies — to convince other governments to lower the targets before they become legally binding in December.
According to the Guardian, Hutton was toadvise Brown that the move will be "very hard to negotiate … and will be very controversial."
The newspaper said the documents were to be presented Tuesday to Brown, who took over as prime minister from Tony Blair in June.
The EU agreement, which also sawleaders pledge to cut overall levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020,was reached during Blair's final months in office.
The document echoes a similar position takenearlier this year byCanada's Conservative government over Canada's Kyoto Protocol commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by six per cent from 1990 levels by the 2012 deadline
Prime Minister Stephen Harperhas repeatedly said Canada cannotachieve its Kyoto commitmentsby the 2012 deadline without devastating the country's economy.
Instead, the Conservatives have introduced their own plan tocut emissions 20 per cent by the year 2020 and 70 per cent by 2050. The governmentalso established a $1.5 billion fund to help provinces deal with climate change and air pollution.