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Miliband urges decarbonising goal
Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for a clear goal to decarbonise the power sector by 2030, as part of efforts to drive a "green industrial revolution".
Mr Miliband said governments must play a more active role in spurring investment in a low carbon economy to kick start growth and make the economy more resilient to rising energy prices.
His comments come after the Government's climate advisers warned ministers that their backing for gas as a future energy source was incompatible with legally binding carbon reduction targets and was damaging investment in low carbon energy.
The Committee on Climate Change said the Government must set a clear target to slash carbon emissions from the power sector by 2030.
Writing in Inside Track, the journal of environmental think-tank Green Alliance, Mr Miliband said: "Investing in the infrastructure for a low carbon economy will both kick start the growth that is missing and make our economy resilient to price shocks in an age of scarcity. It is governments which set the low carbon targets and correct market failures; and the degree of support for policies shown by governments is a major part of perceived risk for investors.
"To attract the investment we need, governments must cover that risk and commit to a clear goal of decarbonising the power sector by 2030, as the independent Committee on Climate Change has recommended."
Mr Miliband also said the energy market needs to be opened up to more competition so reductions in wholesale prices were passed on to consumers, and pledged a Labour government would ensure all customers over 75 were charged the cheapest tariffs.
In the article, he drew parallels between the economic and environmental crises across the world, which is facing rising energy prices and resource scarcity as well as financial woes. He said they were both caused by markets without proper regulation, hit people who did not cause them and could be solved by strong and active government "that does not leave people to their fates".
Greenpeace policy adviser Joss Garman said: "There is now no excuse for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats not to commit to carbon-free electricity by 2030. Both the Energy Committee, and John Gummer's climate change committee, are advising the Lib Dems that this measure is essential for our economy and environment. Miliband's announcement means that with Labour and Lib Dem votes, this policy can and should become law."
Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said: "This is a highly significant intervention by Ed Miliband, and a direct challenge to the Government. Without a clear target in the Energy Bill to decarbonise the power sector by 2030, the UK economy risks being locked in to risky imported fossil fuels and missing out on major opportunities for green growth."