In Blair's reshuffle, The new Environment Secretary David Miliband has said he is "open-minded" on the issue of nuclear power. He said no option should be taken off the table when looking at ways to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
The government is currently considering building new nuclear plants as part of a review of Britain's energy needs. But it faces opposition from environmentalists and its own advisory panel which has warned against a nuclear "quick fix".
"We have to approach this in a way which is open about the costs, recognizes the waste issues but also looks at the costs and benefits of all the other options too because I think the truth is we have got to look at all those options if we are to meet this challenge," he told BBC radio.
Mr Miliband's appointment in last week's Cabinet reshuffle - replacing Margaret Beckett who was known to be sceptical about nuclear power - was widely seen as clearing one obstacle to building more nuclear plants. His appointment means he will go head-to-head on green issues with Conservative leader David Cameron, who has made the environment one of his top priorities. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4764933.stm for more on this story.
If the challenge of climate change is to be met then no part of British society will be unchanged, David Miliband Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said today. "Just as social justice needed a new social contract in the 19th and 20th centuries so environmental security in the 21st century needs a new environmental contract".
“An environmental contract would have new and clear rights and responsibilities for Government, for business and for individuals, to balance what we take from nature and what we give back. The old system of ‘too much take and too little give' is bad for the planet, bad for business and bad for the most disadvantaged.
“The challenge we face is to marry economic growth, social justice, and environmental sustainability. They can and must go hand in hand. There will be difficult decisions along the way. But also huge synergies. A low carbon economy can be good for business, good for the environment, and good for all citizens.
“CO2 levels are now higher than for 740,000 years. Arresting climate change will need investment but failure to take action will result in even greater costs.
“This is not just a matter for Defra. All Government departments are departments of the environment. I will be working closely with my Cabinet colleagues to tackle the demand and supply sides of emissions, from energy to transport to housing.
“We need to make sure that national progress and international agreements go together. We will meet this global challenge not by words over days but by deeds over years.”
Posted on 18th May 2006
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