The Royal Society has launched an investigation into the introduction of new economic measures to deal with climate change. The Society, which considers that current government policy is not working, will examine whether measures such as a carbon tax would provide a more positive method of control.

The RS criticised the government’s recently introduced Climate Change Levy because it is a tax on energy use, not a tax on pollution. It also claimed that it had led to no reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. UK emissions increased by 1.5 per cent in 2001, according to Society figures.

The Climate Change Levy was introduced in April 2001 to tax commercial and industrial consumers of electricity. The RS investigation will look at different economic methods of reducing greenhouse emissions. According to the RS vice-president, the UK needs to cut emissions by up to 60 per cent this century to do its part in avoiding the worst effects of global warming. However, even with the rise in emissions the UK is still likely to meet its Kyoto target for 2008-2012, a 12.5 per cent reduction in the 1990 level of emissions.