Unrest speeds need to switch from oil: UK minister

6th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The unrest in the Arab world makes it "all the more urgent" to wean Britain off oil and onto greener sources of power, its energy minister said Sunday.

Britain has no other option but to speed up efforts to move away from oil towards other energy sources, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne told The Observer newspaper, as prices at the petrol pumps soar.

Britain will launch a new national "Carbon Plan" this week aimed at getting government departments to shake up their operations and make their projects less dependent on fossil fuels.

"Getting off the oil hook is made all the more urgent by the crisis in the Middle East," Huhne said.

"We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and secure energy from low-carbon sources.

"The Carbon Plan is about ensuring that the whole of government is engaged in a joined-up effort to lead us into a low-carbon world."

The Carbon Plan will be launched this week by Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Huhne.

Non-governmental organisations will be asked to play a monitoring role to ensure progress across departments, The Observer said.

It is being published in draft form ahead of a final version before 2012. It will be updated annually, with progress being published quarterly on the Downing Street website, the weekly said.

Public anger is mounting at the cost of petrol in Britain -- most of which goes to the Treasury.

Finance minister George Osborne hinted Saturday that in his budget later this month, he might drop the one penny above inflation tax rise in a bid to ease the pressure on motorists.

Alan Duncan, Britain's junior international development minister and a former oil trader, warned Saturday that the price of a barrel of crude could top $200 (140 euros) if the unrest worsens.

© 2011 AFP

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