UK advisors call for long-term energy shift

Official sustainable development panel demands "urgent re-ordering of priorities"

The UK's official advisory panel on sustainable development has called for a long-term co-ordinated energy strategy to be developed in the face of climate change risks. In its sixth report issued yesterday, the group stressed that the "absolute priority" over the next decades would be to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Sequestration of CO2 was not a realistic alternative, it added.

Set up in 1994, the panel is to be replaced this summer by a new Commission on Sustainable Development. Looking ahead to this, its final report calls on the new body to help determine the costs of environmental policy, to address climate change impacts and to encourage renewable energy.

The report reviews several policy issues. It renews a previously made call for the government to support more sustainable fishing practices, in particular by pushing for the creation of an inter-governmental panel on the oceans, analogous to the influential inter-governmental panel on climate change (ENDS Daily 5 February 1999).

The panel also tackles sustainability implications of world trade, demanding reform of the World Trade Organisation and supporting calls for a World Environment Organisation to be created. It recommends further research into the possibilities of biotechnology, but in a transparent manner. Finally, it urges more action against noise nuisance, including "clearer and more comprehensive" legislation.

Follow Up:
British Government Panel on Sustainable Development, tel: +44 20 78 90 49 62, and its sixth report.

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