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Philip Hammond accused of trying to kill off landmark action on global warming by claiming bill will top £1 trillion – The Independent

Philip Hammond has been accused of trying to block a landmark bid to wipe out UK contributions to global warming by 2050, by claiming the bill will be more than £1 trillion.

Campaigners and opposition politicians protested that the chancellor’s warning – revealed in a leaked letter – ignored the massive cost of failing to act on runaway climate change.

The £1 trillion claim came as Theresa May is expected to attempt to make net greenhouse gas emissions a “legacy” achievement, by introducing legislation as early as next week.

Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said: “The Treasury is putting their ideology before our wellbeing and trying to shape the public debate for political ends.”

And Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat leadership candidate, warned: “Hammond might be trying to reclaim his crown as a fiscal hawk in the dying embers of May’s premiership, but this intervention is wrong headed and threatens our children’s future.”

1/46 Canary Wharf

A protester gives a thumbs up as he stalls a DLR train at Canary Wharf station in London

Reuters

2/46 City of London

Protesters hold up traffic on Upper Thames Street in the City of London

Getty

3/46 Canary Wharf

Protesters hold a banner as they hold up a DLR train at Canary Wharf station in London

Reuters

4/46 Waterloo Bridge

Officers remove plants that were placed in the occupation of Waterloo Bridge

PA

5/46 Oxford Circus

Police officers arrive at Oxford Circus as they prepare to remove protesters during the fifth day of a coordinated protest by the Extinction Rebellion group, April 19

Getty

6/46 Waterloo Bridge

An activist waters the plants at the occupation on Waterloo Bridge

PA

7/46 Heathrow airport

Undeterred by over 400 arrests, climate change activists continued their demonstration into a fifth day in London with a small protest at the country’s main Heathrow Airport, along with the ongoing protest camps at other iconic locations around the British capital

Reuters

8/46 Oxford Circus

Protesters with the words ‘glued on’ written on their hands hold hands as police officers arrive at Oxford Circus

Getty

9/46 Waterloo Bridge

Officers circle the lorry that serves as the central stage to the Waterloo Bridge occupation, repeating their tactic from a earlier at the Oxford Circus occupation

Reuters

10/46 Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus reopens after being closed for days due to occupation

AFP/Getty

11/46 Waterloo Bridge

Officers prepare to move in on the occupation of Waterloo Bridge

PA

12/46 Waterloo Bridge

Activists relax on a sofa at the occupation on Waterloo Bridge

AFP/Getty

13/46 Oxford Circus

British actress Emma Thompson talks to members of the media from atop the pink boat after police officers surrounded the boat being used as a stage as climate change activists occupy the road junction at Oxford Circus in central London during the fifth day of environmental protesst by the Extinction Rebellion group

AFP

14/46 Waterloo Bridge

An Extinction Rebellion demonstrator is carried away by police on Waterloo Bridge

PA

15/46 Waterloo Bridge

Activists on Waterloo Bridge have made a garden for their occupation site, April 20

Reuters

16/46 Oxford Circus

Demonstrators began blocking off a bridge and major central road junctions on April 15 at the start of a civil disobedience campaign calling for governments to declare an ecological emergency over climate change, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new “citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice”

Reuters

17/46 Oxford Circus

Emma Thompson joins the Extinction Rebellion protest at Oxford Circus. Thompson spoke from the pink boat at the centre of the occupation

AFP/Getty

18/46 Heathrow airport

Extinction Rebellion protesters sit outside Heathrow Airport on April 19

Reuters

19/46 Heathrow airport

Climate protestors hold a demo outside Heathrow Airport

Getty

20/46 Waterloo Bridge

Police officers detain a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge

Reuters

21/46 Marble Arch

Protesters prepare for another day at Marble Arch as the Extinction Rebellion protests enter their fifth day

Getty

22/46 Oxford Circus

British actress Emma Thompson gives an address from the stage atop the pink boat

AFP/Getty

23/46 Oxford Circus

Actress Emma Thompson takes a photo with a Extinction Rebellion demonstrator

PA

24/46 Oxford Circus

Climate change activists blockade Oxford Circus on the third day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group

AFP/Getty

25/46 Waterloo Bridge

Climate change activists stand atop a bus shelter as they take part in a blockade of Waterloo Bridge

AFP/Getty

26/46 Canary Wharf

Police is seen as climate change activists demonstrate during the Extinction Rebellion protest, at Canary Wharf DLR station in London

Reuters

27/46 Waterloo Bridge

Police speak to climate change activists blockading Waterloo bridge

AFP/Getty

28/46 Waterloo Bridge

EPA

29/46 Waterloo Bridge

Climate change activists, one (right) with her hand glued to the underside of a truck parked across Waterloo Bridge

AFP/Getty

30/46 Oxford Circus

Environmental campaigners protest in the centre of Oxford Circus

Getty

31/46 Jeremy Corbyn’s Home

Climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion protest sit after glueing themselves to the front fence of Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s house

Reuters

32/46 Marble Arch

Dozens of tents have been pitched at Marble Arch in a large scale occupation

Reuters

33/46 Canary Wharf station

Police remove climate activists who glued themselves on top of a train at Canary Wharf station

EPA

34/46 Oxford Circus

Police forces carry a protester

AP

35/46 Canary Wharf station

A climate change protestor who glued his hand to a window halts a DLR train

AFP/Getty

36/46 Waterloo Bridge

PA

37/46 Waterloo Bridge

EPA

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EPA

39/46 Oxford Circus

PA

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Getty

41/46 Waterloo Bridge

Pedestrians and a cyclist pass graffiti drawn by protestors who blocked Waterloo Bridge

AP

42/46 Waterloo Bridge

Climate change protestors practice yoga on Waterloo Bridge

AFP/Getty

43/46 Waterloo Bridge

A climate change activist gestures while being detained by police officers

Reuters

44/46 Waterloo Bridge

Protestors sit on the road

AP

45/46 Waterloo Bridge

PA

46/46 Oxford Circus

AP

1/46 Canary Wharf

A protester gives a thumbs up as he stalls a DLR train at Canary Wharf station in London

Reuters

2/46 City of London

Protesters hold up traffic on Upper Thames Street in the City of London

Getty

3/46 Canary Wharf

Protesters hold a banner as they hold up a DLR train at Canary Wharf station in London

Reuters

4/46 Waterloo Bridge

Officers remove plants that were placed in the occupation of Waterloo Bridge

PA

5/46 Oxford Circus

Police officers arrive at Oxford Circus as they prepare to remove protesters during the fifth day of a coordinated protest by the Extinction Rebellion group, April 19

Getty

6/46 Waterloo Bridge

An activist waters the plants at the occupation on Waterloo Bridge

PA

7/46 Heathrow airport

Undeterred by over 400 arrests, climate change activists continued their demonstration into a fifth day in London with a small protest at the country’s main Heathrow Airport, along with the ongoing protest camps at other iconic locations around the British capital

Reuters

8/46 Oxford Circus

Protesters with the words ‘glued on’ written on their hands hold hands as police officers arrive at Oxford Circus

Getty

9/46 Waterloo Bridge

Officers circle the lorry that serves as the central stage to the Waterloo Bridge occupation, repeating their tactic from a earlier at the Oxford Circus occupation

Reuters

10/46 Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus reopens after being closed for days due to occupation

AFP/Getty

11/46 Waterloo Bridge

Officers prepare to move in on the occupation of Waterloo Bridge

PA

12/46 Waterloo Bridge

Activists relax on a sofa at the occupation on Waterloo Bridge

AFP/Getty

13/46 Oxford Circus

British actress Emma Thompson talks to members of the media from atop the pink boat after police officers surrounded the boat being used as a stage as climate change activists occupy the road junction at Oxford Circus in central London during the fifth day of environmental protesst by the Extinction Rebellion group

AFP

14/46 Waterloo Bridge

An Extinction Rebellion demonstrator is carried away by police on Waterloo Bridge

PA

15/46 Waterloo Bridge

Activists on Waterloo Bridge have made a garden for their occupation site, April 20

Reuters

16/46 Oxford Circus

Demonstrators began blocking off a bridge and major central road junctions on April 15 at the start of a civil disobedience campaign calling for governments to declare an ecological emergency over climate change, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new “citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice”

Reuters

17/46 Oxford Circus

Emma Thompson joins the Extinction Rebellion protest at Oxford Circus. Thompson spoke from the pink boat at the centre of the occupation

AFP/Getty

18/46 Heathrow airport

Extinction Rebellion protesters sit outside Heathrow Airport on April 19

Reuters

19/46 Heathrow airport

Climate protestors hold a demo outside Heathrow Airport

Getty

20/46 Waterloo Bridge

Police officers detain a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge

Reuters

21/46 Marble Arch

Protesters prepare for another day at Marble Arch as the Extinction Rebellion protests enter their fifth day

Getty

22/46 Oxford Circus

British actress Emma Thompson gives an address from the stage atop the pink boat

AFP/Getty

23/46 Oxford Circus

Actress Emma Thompson takes a photo with a Extinction Rebellion demonstrator

PA

24/46 Oxford Circus

Climate change activists blockade Oxford Circus on the third day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group

AFP/Getty

25/46 Waterloo Bridge

Climate change activists stand atop a bus shelter as they take part in a blockade of Waterloo Bridge

AFP/Getty

26/46 Canary Wharf

Police is seen as climate change activists demonstrate during the Extinction Rebellion protest, at Canary Wharf DLR station in London

Reuters

27/46 Waterloo Bridge

Police speak to climate change activists blockading Waterloo bridge

AFP/Getty

28/46 Waterloo Bridge

EPA

29/46 Waterloo Bridge

Climate change activists, one (right) with her hand glued to the underside of a truck parked across Waterloo Bridge

AFP/Getty

30/46 Oxford Circus

Environmental campaigners protest in the centre of Oxford Circus

Getty

31/46 Jeremy Corbyn’s Home

Climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion protest sit after glueing themselves to the front fence of Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s house

Reuters

32/46 Marble Arch

Dozens of tents have been pitched at Marble Arch in a large scale occupation

Reuters

33/46 Canary Wharf station

Police remove climate activists who glued themselves on top of a train at Canary Wharf station

EPA

34/46 Oxford Circus

Police forces carry a protester

AP

35/46 Canary Wharf station

A climate change protestor who glued his hand to a window halts a DLR train

AFP/Getty

36/46 Waterloo Bridge

PA

37/46 Waterloo Bridge

EPA

38/46 Waterloo Bridge

EPA

39/46 Oxford Circus

PA

40/46 Oxford Circus

Getty

41/46 Waterloo Bridge

Pedestrians and a cyclist pass graffiti drawn by protestors who blocked Waterloo Bridge

AP

42/46 Waterloo Bridge

Climate change protestors practice yoga on Waterloo Bridge

AFP/Getty

43/46 Waterloo Bridge

A climate change activist gestures while being detained by police officers

Reuters

44/46 Waterloo Bridge

Protestors sit on the road

AP

45/46 Waterloo Bridge

PA

46/46 Oxford Circus

AP

The CCC called for the zero-emissions target for 2050 to be made law immediately – ahead of a UN summit in September – insisting “the quicker you do it the cheaper it is”.

Its blueprint would mean the end of petrol and diesel cars and gas boilers, a drastic cut in people’s meat consumption and the planting of at least 1.5 billion trees.

Emissions from some activities, including air travel and farming, are viewed as unavoidable by 2050, but would be balanced by taking carbon out of the air by growing trees or burying carbon dioxide.

Now Mr Hammond has told the outgoing prime minister the commitment will shrink the money available for schools, the NHS, the police and public spending priorities.

His letter also warned that the target would render some industries “economically uncompetitive” without huge government subsidies.

The CCC estimated that reaching net zero will cost £50bn a year, but the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) puts the figure at £70bn, according to the chancellor’s letter.

“On the basis of these estimates, the total cost of transitioning to a zero-carbon economy is likely to be well in excess of a trillion pounds,” he wrote.”

Mr Hammond said it was right for the UK to show leadership on climate change, but warned the prime minister that the implications of the policy needed to be “better understood”.

He urged Downing Street to support a Treasury review to minimise the cost of the policy for taxpayers and consumers to prevent “potentially damaging impacts”.

The letter also suggested that the government give itself an “explicit review point”, or a get-out clause to reconsider the target if other countries did not follow suit.

Dr Parr added: “If you want to know whether a policy is a good idea, you include the benefits as well as the costs – and, in this case, the benefits include an economy fit for the twenty-first century, cleaner air, warmer homes and maximising the chances of civilisation surviving.”

And Mr Davey said: “The cost of tackling the climate emergency is massively outweighed by the long-term cost of not acting. The chancellor has got his sums wrong.”

The prime minister’s spokeswoman would not say whether she intended to formally commit the government to the 2050 target before leaving office, at the end of July.

“In the week of the CCC report, we strongly welcomed the recommendations but set out that we would be formally responding as soon as possible. That remains our intention.”

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