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Climate Change—The UK Programme 2006

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Margaret Beckett): I am pleased to announce that the Government and the devolved Administrations have today published the "UK Climate Change Programme 2006", to update the programme that we introduced in 2000.

The UK has one of the best records of any country in tackling greenhouse gas emissions, and we have already met our Kyoto target for 2010. The programme sets out the Government's commitments at international and domestic levels to meet the challenge of climate change. It also sets out our approach to strengthening the role that individuals can play. Progress in all three areas is regarded by the Government as essential.

Our review over the past eighteen months has evaluated how effective our existing policies have been and analysed a range of possible new policies to contribute towards our national climate change goals. We are introducing a range of policies to strengthen our domestic delivery. Among these are measures to support increased generation from renewable sources, encourage the installation of energy efficiency measures in households, provide more reliable consumer product information, support more sustainable transport choices, introduce higher standards for efficiency in buildings and finance energy efficiency measures for public sector organisations.
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Today we are also consulting on the draft of the "UK's National Allocation Plan" for the second phase of the EU emissions trading scheme. The scheme is a central element of the energy supply and business sectors' contribution to our policies to tackle climate change. It will be used to make a significant contribution to our national emissions reduction target.

These policies are expected to reduce the UK's emissions of the basket of greenhouse gases to 23–25 per cent. below base year levels, around twice our commitment to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. It is also expected to reduce the UK's carbon dioxide emissions to 15–18 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010. The review, and policies introduced already, could reduce carbon emissions by 7–12MtC by 2010. This would take the Government close to their domestic target of a 20 per cent. reduction by 2010. The Government still believe that the UK can achieve this target. This is an on-going process and the Government will in future report annually to Parliament on emissions, future plans and progress on the domestic climate change agenda. We believe we can reach the 20 per cent. target with support from all sections of the economy and society, not least by the collective action of individuals.

At international level, we will maintain our leadership role, and build on progress achieved through the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, the European Union and the Montreal Climate Change Conference. Our aim is to secure agreement to the action and long-term goal needed to establish an effective future international regime to tackle climate change. As part of this, in partnership with the European Union, we will enhance our efforts to help India, China and other developing countries evolve as low carbon economies.

Copies of this document will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament and of Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly Government, and Northern Ireland Assembly. Copies can also be found at DEFRA's website at and the TSO offices.


Active Diplomacy for a Changing World: The UK's International Priorities

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Jack Straw): I am today laying before Parliament Government White Paper Command 6762, "Active Diplomacy for a Changing World: the UK's International Priorities".

In a world of global communications and markets, our security and prosperity depend more than ever on what happens in other parts of the world. "Active Diplomacy for a Changing World: The UK's International Priorities" updates the FCO's 2003 White Paper, "UK International Priorities: A Strategy for the FCO". It identifies the trends we expect to shape the world in the next 10 years, sets out the UK's role in the international system, and identifies the strategic international priorities for the Government as a whole.
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The world in the next 10 years

Based on extensive consultation with partners around Government and beyond, some of the trends and their implications for the UK outlined in the White Paper are:

The gathering pace of globalisation. The flow of people, goods, money and knowledge, and the rapid growth of Asia, present new opportunities and risks. We will need to adapt our economy, and work with others to support global economic openness. And we must also help build effective states able to provide security, opportunity, justice and basic services for their citizens.

Pressures on natural resources. Economic demand, population growth and climate change are putting the world's natural resources under new pressure. We will need to manage increasing competition for energy in particular.

An uncertain security environment. Terrorism will remain the primary security threat to the UK. The fight to control the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons will be crucial over the next ten years. There will be new risks to fragile states and uncertainty about developments in key parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The UK Government's response

To meet these and other challenges, the British Government:

The UK's International Priorities

The 2003 White Paper introduced a set of strategic priorities to guide the Government's international policy. This new White Paper builds on these strategic priorities, and introduces some new ones.

The provision of public services to UK citizens abroad has always been a core activity. The continuing importance of delivering high quality consular support, against a backdrop of increasing demand, has led to our decision to introduce a new strategic priority to cover this activity.

We have also introduced a new strategic priority on managing migration and combating illegal immigration. The pressures driving migration are significant. Managing our economic, social, security and development objectives will be an important task for Government in the years ahead.

On the basis of this assessment, the strategic international priorities for Government identified in the White Paper are:

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The role of the FCO

The White Paper also sets out how the FCO will continue to adapt to take forward the strategic priorities, working with others in Government. The role of the FCO is to exercise judgment and influence in order to shape the future for the benefit of our citizens and others. We must be engaged on the ground with the knowledge, experience and skills to effect change.

Our network of posts must continue to adapt to new opportunities and risks. We are moving resources to priorities in Asia and the Middle East; tackling issues such as conflict, energy security and economic and political reform in key regions; developing rapid deployment teams for crisis response; and using information and communications technology to help us work more flexibly and effectively.

This White Paper and the strategic priorities will provide the framework for deploying our efforts as resources remain tight and demand for our services grows.

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