The UK has agreed a legally binding deal to drastically cut greenhouse emissions over the next two decades, according to a report in the Observer newspaper.
The report said the UK will accept the recommendations of an independent Committee on Climate Change in full up to 2027 after tense arguments between ministers. The committee has recommended that emissions should be slashed by 60 per cent relative to 1990 levels by 2030.
According to Reuters, the paper said the deal put Britain ahead of all other states in terms of the legal commitments it was making to curb carbon emissions. The deal to accept the committee's advice on the fourth carbon budget covering the period 2023-27 was reached after Prime Minister David Cameron stepped in, the paper said.
Finance Minister George Osborne and Business Secretary Vince Cable had reportedly expressed opposition to the proposals, concerned about the cost and potential impact on the economy. A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change told Reuters the government would publish its fourth carbon budget this week, but would not go into details.
Ministers believe that major companies involved in developing offshore wind technology could now be keener to invest in Britain, the Observer said. The committee says about GBP16bn ($26bn) would need to be invested annually through the 2020s and new policies would be needed, including fundamental reform of the electricity market.