Government attempts to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change are undermined today by an opinion poll showing its key energy review document is deemed ineffectual, while critics say some official policies are contradictory.

The scepticism has been increased by a warning from Brussels that Britain will be taken to the European Court of Justice for failing to curb greenhouse gases in commercial buildings. Barely a week after environment secretary David Miliband announced far-reaching climate change legislation and publication of the Stern Review, there is widespread concern about where the government is going.

The new survey shows the vast majority of the UK's leading energy experts, 71%, believe the energy review proposals will not have any impact on ensuring the UK achieves its 2012 Kyoto targets. Nearly 80% of those surveyed by energy technology firm Mitsui Babcock also believed Britain needed a new generation of nuclear plants to reduce C02 emissions, but 57% did not believe the government would follow this through. Meanwhile, a new report reveals that the government is actively giving financial support to projects around the world that are damaging the climate and says this must be stopped.

The wildlife charity, WWF, says that the export credit guarantee department is spending £2bn (€3bn) a year of public money mainly to support the supply of aircraft and for hydrocarbon projects such as the controversial Sakhalin-2 scheme in eastern Russia.

"It is clear that the ECGD is in direct contradiction of the UK government position on climate change," James Leaton, WWF oil policy officer, said last night. The call for a change in policy comes alongside confirmation the EU has sent the UK a "reasoned opinion", the last step before taking it to court, for failing to introduce an EU building directive. The government has consistently failed to inform Brussels how it will implement an EU directive requiring the labelling of public buildings on an A-G scale of energy efficiency.


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