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Doha: UN Carbon Deal Could Add Hundreds Of Pounds To Energy Bills

Louise Gray and Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph

Britain faces even tougher green taxes if a climate change deal is signed in Doha that could force it to reduce emissions by another third.

The country is signed up to a target to cut carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020, but this could go up to 42 per cent under a new United Nations deal.

Experts last night warned that the new target could add hundreds of pounds to energy bills every year, and industry leaders said new carbon taxes would make British businesses less competitive.

Scientists claim carbon cuts are needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

But Jeremy Nicholson, the director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said Britain could “ill afford” to push up costs when the economy was struggling. He said the policy could add over £7.5 billion a year to energy bills by 2020. “Ultimately it is the taxpayer or consumer who ends up footing the bill and if you end up putting too much of that cost on industry Britain becomes uncompetitive.”

Benny Peiser, of Lord Lawson’s think tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the cost to industry would be passed on to consumers. “The more renewables you build, like wind, the more you need subsidies so it pushes energy bills up. If business has to pay higher bills the costs of products goes up.”

There are already disagreements between the Treasury and the Department of Energy and Climate Change over the existing 34 per cent target. George Osborne, the Chancellor, has insisted it should be reviewed in 2014.

The deal on the table in Doha would commit the EU to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol, agreeing to consider upping its target for cutting emissions. If this happens, and the EU goes from 20 to 30 per cent, the Government has said it will consider moving to 42 per cent.

Peter Lilley, the Tory MP, said Britain was already struggling with targets and pointed out that the world’s two largest carbon emitters, the US and China, were not even in the protocol.

“I think it’s most self-flagellating to sign Britain up to be bound by such targets when the bulk of the world is not. At a time when our main objective is to rebalance the economy, to put burdens on our manufacturing sector is self-defeating,” he said.

However Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, who is leading the UK delegation, supports a move to 30 per cent by the EU, which it will only do if the US and China also commit to action.

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