'This document sets out a comprehensive strategy for tackling the changes in our climate within an international framework that is vital to effective action,' Ms Essex said. 'The Assembly is committed to working in partnership with the UK Government and the other devolved administrations in the development and delivery of a new climate change programme which achieves both the Kyoto and the UK's domestic targets on gaseous emissions.
'We have shared in the preparation of this proposed programme, and I am hoping that it will be considered carefully by as many organisations and individuals as possible in Wales before the consultation period ends on Friday, 2 June.'
*Climate Change: Draft UK Programme. March, 2000. DETR copies available from DETR free literature service 0870 1226236.
It puts in place policies that give clear signals about the changes needed for the longer term; and outlines a variety of measures, covering all sectors of the economy, that would safely deliver the UK's Kyoto target - to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent by 2008-2012 and move towards the domestic goal of a 20 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010.
Ms Essex said the draft programme showed that the UK was serious about meeting its climate change commitments in ways that would protect and enhance competitiveness and bring wider benefits to the environment, economy and society.
' Many of the world's leading scientists conclude that there is a discernible human influence on our climate. They consider greenhouse gas emissions to be the biggest single contribution to global warming.
'Without reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, many parts of the world will suffer severe consequences later this century. As is often the case, the poorest and least developed countries will be the most vulnerable and the least able to respond.
'Climate change will add to the problems that many of these countries already face - flooding, hunger and water shortages. I believe firmly in the importance of taking action at the global level to tackle the threat of climate change. We in Wales must play our full part. If we can limit emissions then we can slow the rate of change and minimise many of the worst impacts.'
The Assembly will shortly be issuing a bilingual report based on its input to the UK Programme 'Climate Change Wales'. It focuses on the issues specific to Wales and will help in developing programmes and policies to reduce Wales' contribution to climate change.