ABI supports calls for independent watchdog on climate change

A powerful coalition of opposition MPs is calling for the creation of an independent watchdog on climate change.

The establishment of an authoritative body responsible for setting and enforcing emissions targets is the central proposal of a new cross-party consensus.

Consisting of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Democratic Unionist Party, the alliance claims the support of 276 MPs.

They have pledged to set up a Climate Change Forum with representatives of each party, which will develop joint policy proposals on the environment.

The move was welcomed by the ABI, which hailed it as an important step in raising the profile of what can be done to tackle climate change, one of the ABI's key business priorities.

The group, which launched last week, has put forward the idea of an independent authority on climate change. This would be responsible for drawing up measures to cut carbon dioxide emissions and for setting binding targets.

Lib Dem environment spokesman Norman Baker, who first proposed the cross-party group last year, said it would "push climate change up the agenda".

The joint statement of intent was signed last week by Baker, Tory environment spokesman Peter Ainsworth, Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwyd, the SNP's Mike Weir and the DUP's William McCrae.

They say the rate of climate change is the "most serious threat we face" and that "normal politics is simply not delivering the actions necessary to tackle this threat". The group also calls for a cut in global and UK emissions of 60% by 2050.

An ABI spokesman said the trade body wanted the government to reduce the insured cost of climate change, through such things as investment in flood defences and better building techniques.

' Forces of Nature conference, 20 March. Email: sarah.pope@newsquestspecialistmedia.com