A new report has warned that the UK government has just four years to implement a major new program of action to cut carbon emissions if the UK is to play its part in keeping global temperatures from rising beyond a critical point.

The report, published by The Co-operative Bank and Friends of the Earth, is based upon research commissioned from The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester, UK.

The report suggests that a carbon budget of around 4.6 gigatonnes between 2000 and 2050 would allow the UK to play its part in keeping temperatures from rising two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. If emissions continue at the current rate the UK would emit close to double this amount by 2050, the report claims.

The study also outlines what the UK government could do – and by when – to keep within this carbon budget and maps out how homes, business and transport in the UK could change as a result. It claims that the UK can achieve the necessary carbon reductions if the government implements a major program of action within the next four years.

As a first step towards a low carbon economy, Friends of the Earth’s Big Ask Campaign and The Co-operative Bank – through its customer care scheme – are calling for a climate change bill to be introduced into parliament this year which would commit the government to reducing the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by at least 3% year on year.

This is more than yet another wake up call. Even if scientists take a gloomy view of the continually increasing human impact on our environment, this report illustrates that if we start acting now, the required carbon reductions are achievable, albeit with some potentially uncomfortable changes for our lifestyles, said Simon Williams, director of corporate affairs at The Co-operative Bank. Decisive action from Government is demanded.

To make a smooth transition to a low carbon future the government, business and we as individuals need to immediately begin to implement a major program of action to significantly reduce our carbon emissions, added Dr Kevin Anderson, research director for the Tyndall Centre’s energy and climate change program.