The Kyoto Treaty was drawn up in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 to implement the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change. Since February 2005, most industrial nations have been legally bound by targets and timetables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol.
The UK Government is committed to reducing CO2 levels to 12.5% below 1990 levels by 2012. As well as its Kyoto commitments, the UK Government has set itself a domestic target of reducing the UK’s CO2 emissions to 34% below 1990 levels by 2020.
The Renewables Obligation (RO)
The Government has set tough targets for the percentage of the UK’s electricity supply that must be provided by renewable energy sources. In 2002, it introduced the Renewables Obligation as its main policy instrument for encouraging the generation of more electricity from renewable sources. The RO encourages energy suppliers to provide a proportion of their sales from renewable sources through the Renewable Energy Certificates (ROC) schemes. As a result of the RO, the UK has seen a considerable increase in the amount of renewable energy generation installed.
The UK Renewable Energy Strategy 2009
The UK has signed the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which includes a UK target of at least 15 % of energy to be generated from renewable sources by 2020.
Other government policies
Click on the links to find out more about each policy.
You can also see and search climate change and renewable energy legislation on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI): UK Statute Law Database website and in the legislation section of the DECC website.