Required under the UK's Climate Change Act, carbon budgets set out legally binding emission targets for the UK economy over five year periods.
The world's first carbon budgets were announced alongside the UK Chancellor Alistair Darling's Budget Speech in April 2009. He pledged to cut carbon emissions against 1990 levels by 22 per cent by 2012, 28 per cent by 2017, and 34 per cent by 2020.
Although the 34 per cent figure is higher than the 20 per cent cuts promised by the European Union, it has been criticised by environmental groups for being at the low end of recommendations made by the independent Climate Change Committee, which was formed to advice on the budgets.
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