Energy bills and fuel poverty to go up with climate change targets

02 December 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
The number of Brits living in fuel poverty could hit 1.7 million as gas and electricity bills rise further in attempts to achieve a low-carbon economy, Lord Turner, chair of the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has announced.

According to the CCC, measures that need to be introduced include a minimum cut of 34 per cent in greenhouse gases by 2020. However such measures are expected to cost one per cent of the UK's GDP in 2020.

This one per cent GDP could equate to as much as £500 in gas and electricity costs per household, according to the Daily Mail, which would push the number of Brits in fuel poverty up to 1.7 million.

However, the CCC has calculated that 400,000 Brits in fuel poverty could be better off as a result of energy efficiency measures such as insulation which would help the UK in reaching its low carbon targets.

In addition, the CCC aims to move the UK towards cleaner energy through renewable sources such as wind and biomass heat. Commenting on the balancing act faced by the CCC between climate change and a failing economy, Lord Turner said:

"Climate change poses a grave threat to human welfare, the environment and the economy. It is not too late to tackle climate change, but it will be unless the world takes action soon, and the developed countries need to lead the way with strong commitments and strong delivery against the budgets.

"The reductions required can be achieved at a very low cost to our economy: the cost of not achieving the reductions at national and global level will be far greater," he concluded.

According to the CCC, the target of a 34 per cent cut in greenhouse gas in the UK by 2020 could hit 42 per cent if a global climate change deal is created.

Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband added: "Plotting a course to a low carbon future here in the UK is vital if we are to reach our domestic goals and reach an international agreement."

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