UK fall­ing short on cli­mate change tar­gets

Britain set to miss le­gally bind­ing goals in 2020s and 2030s, says com­mit­tee on cli­mate change chair­man

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Jil­lian Am­brose

BRITAIN is set to miss its cli­mate tar­gets, de­spite its multi­bil­lion-pound ef­fort to clean up the power sec­tor, due to slow progress in re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions from in­dus­try and trans­port.

Ten years to the month af­ter Par­lia­ment passed the Cli­mate Change Act to le­gally en­shrine its bind­ing car­bon tar­gets, the com­mit­tee tasked with moni- tor­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts has ac­cused min­is­ters of al­low­ing its progress to stall.

In its an­nual re­port the com­mit­tee on cli­mate change said gov­ern­ment has failed to heed to ad­vice it is­sued at the start of the year, which warned that the multi­bil­lion-pound strat­egy to en­er­gise in­dus­trial growth with a low-car­bon en­ergy drive falls short of the UK’s le­gally bind­ing cli­mate change tar­gets. Lord Deben, com­mit­tee chair­man, said while the UK seeks to lead the world in tack­ling cli­mate change, “the fact is we’re off track to meet our own emis­sions tar­gets in the 2020s and 2030s”.

The damn­ing in­dict­ment di­rectly con­tra­dicts data from the Depart­ment of Busi­ness, En­ergy and In­dus­trial Strat­egy that claims it will meet its “car­bon bud­gets”, which limit the UK’s emis­sions over five-year pe­ri­ods.

The Gov­ern­ment’s of­fi­cial cli­mate ad­vis­ers warned min­is­ters in Jan­uary that their plans do not go far enough to meet the le­gally bind­ing cli­mate tar­gets.

Since then, there has been lit­tle ev­i­dence that the Gov­ern­ment has taken the warn­ing se­ri­ously, ac­cord­ing to the CCC’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Stark.

He said that the progress made in re­plac­ing pol­lut­ing coal-fired power plants with low-car­bon op­tions “masks a marked fail­ure” to de­car­bonise other sec­tors, in­clud­ing trans­port, agricul- ture and build­ings. In the last five years, progress in these ar­eas has stalled, Mr Stark warned, putting the Gov­ern­ment on a path to breach­ing the Cli­mate Change Act.

“At the mo­ment, we are wor­ried,” he told The Daily Tele­graph. “We were wor­ried last year about how long it took for the Gov­ern­ment to pro­duce its clean growth strat­egy. We said, in sum­mary, that it would need to demon­strate how it would de­liver on it. We haven’t seen any ev­i­dence of a real de­sire to de­liver on it since,” he said.

For the first time, the com­mit­tee has is­sued a strict diktat of mea­sures the Gov­ern­ment must take if it hopes to meet the tar­gets laid out in the Cli­mate Change Act.

Its four-point plan in­cludes calls to es­tab­lish a route to mar­ket for “cheap on­shore wind” and a ma­jor boost to home en­ergy ef­fi­ciency mea­sures. But ad­dress­ing trans­port, agri­cul­ture and build­ings is also cru­cial. “This ac­tion is now ur­gent in or­der to meet the UK’s le­gally-bind­ing cli­mate change tar­gets, and to pre­pare to ful­fil the obli­ga­tions of the Paris Agree­ment,” he said.

The com­mit­tee’s re­port also poured crit­i­cism on “the chop­ping and chang­ing” of en­ergy pol­icy, which has de­railed progress in en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, for ex­am­ple. It also called for tougher long-term reg­u­la­tion and en­force­ment of ex­ist­ing poli­cies.

“There was a great deal of en­thu­si­asm for all this 10 years ago and a great deal of po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus. I think that po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus is still there, but I’m not sure the en­thu­si­asm to do it is. This re­port is our at­tempt to give some am­mu­ni­tion to that,” he said.

“In gen­eral, the story out­side of waste and power is a pretty grim one.”

Chris Stark, CCC’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said the Gov­ern­ment is on a path to breach­ing the Cli­mate Change Act

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