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Cutting carbon: Cameron aims for "greenest government ever"

The Government announced on the 14th May that it would reduce carbon emissions from the government estate by 10% over the next twelve months.

David Cameron announces his intentions for "the greenest government ever" alongside Chris Huhn at DECC
David Cameron announces his ambition for “the greenest government ever” alongside Chris Huhne at DECC

The pledge was made as part of the 10:10 campaign which aims to get the UK as a whole to cut its emissions by 10% in 2010. So far the campaign has now almost 80,000 individual members, as well as over 1,500 organisations, including many government departments and local authorities. Some departments have already signed up the campaign but the announcement by Prime Minister Cameron last week will ensure that all government departments will be reducing emissions from the estate by 10%.

Real action not warm words

Speaking at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Prime Minister said:

“I don’t want to hear warm words about the environment. I want to see real action. I want this to be the greenest government ever”.

Following this, Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Minister added:

“This is a coalition to provide strong and stable government for this country. The benefits of the low carbon economy are agreed between both parties, this is a priority agenda common to both manifestos” he added “lot of progress has been made, but we must now go further, faster and turn targets into real change.”

Monitoring government emissions

Currently government emissions are monitored under the Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) targets with departments having commitments on waste, procurement and water as well as energy. Under the new 10% target for emissions departments will be expected to publish online in real time their energy use so that the public can hold ministers and civil servants to account for their carbon footprint.

Welcoming the greenest government

The move has been welcomed by Eugenie Harvey, Director of 10:10, and Will Day, Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission.

Harvey said:

“I’m delighted with the Government’s commitment to cut their emissions by 10% – it’s equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road. The Government joins the tens-of-thousands of individuals, businesses and organisations who have signed up to 10:10 and are actively striving to reduce their impact.”

Will Day celebrated the government’s move:

“The Prime Minister is right to make cutting emissions one of his first commitments, and to commit to leading by example by putting the Government’s house in order first. The Government clearly needs to scale up its efforts if it is to live up to the UK’s world-leading Climate Change Act. This is an excellent first step, which has the potential pay dividends in terms of saving public money through energy efficiency, and contributing towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy for the future.”

More about 10:10

If you would like to join 10:10 or find out how to cut your emissions or those of your organisation please visit

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