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UK launches department to focus on climate change

UK prime minister Gordon Brown has created a Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The announcement, made on 3 October as part of a wider reorganization of the government, was widely praised by environmentalists, who hope that the department will unify the nation's efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. It will be led by Ed Miliband, who is regarded as a close ally of the prime minister and whose brother, David, is the foreign secretary.

Previously, climate change and energy policy in the government were spread across several agencies. "It was a bit of a mess, actually," says Ben Caldecott, head of the environment unit at Policy Exchange, a London-based think tank. Caldecott calls the new climate-change department "a step in the right direction", but says more must be done to unify policy.

The government reshuffle has also ushered in a new science minister. Paul Drayson, a multimillionaire and former head of Defence Equipment and Support, the UK defence ministry's procurement organization, will replace Ian Pearson. Drayson holds a PhD in robotics from Aston University.

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UK launches department to focus on climate change. Nature 455, 719 (2008).

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