Environmental campaigners today attacked the Government's "pathetic" plans to tackle climate change after ministers appeared to abandon a key target on cutting carbon emissions. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) conceded that the UK was unlikely to meet its pledge to cut carbon emissions to 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2010. It now expects to bring levels only to within 15 per cent to 18 per cent of the 1990 figure by 2010, and blamed the change on factors including high economic growth and the rise in global energy prices. The apparent change in target came with the publication of the Government's new Climate Change Programme which sets out how it plans to tackle the issue over the coming years.