UK climate change policy flat-lining

June 29, 2012
by phil
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The government’s own advisors have today issued what amounts to a damning indictment of UK climate policy. Climate changing emissions fell by just 0.8% in the UK in 2011 after adjustments for a warm winter, high fuel prices and a slight drop in average earnings. At the launch of the Climate Change Committee’s Fourth Annual Progress Report this morning, Professor Dame Julia King said that “underlying progress was basically flat.” The report notes that the “lead-time … has now elapsed. Therefored the step change is needed urgently if we are to remain on track to meeting future carbon budgets.”

Decarbonising our electricity production is critical so the CCC says the Draft Energy Bill now before parliament needs to include a “clear carbon objective” and they recommend an Emissions Performance Standard of 50gCO2/kWh for electricity producing power stations to be reached by 2030. This compares to the 450g/kWh in the current draft of the Bill which the CCC say will drive a second dash for gas and add £25 billion by to the cost of energy bills by the 2020s.

Another key test for the government over the coming months will be whether or not they commit to including aviation and shipping in the UK’s annual carbon budgets. CCC CEO David Kennedy this morning described this a “no brainer”.

Over the remaining sectors, any progress was “relative to a low level of ambition for the first budget period.” The impression given of the current state of UK climate change policy was one that could – at best – be characterised by drift. The report includes 21 recommendations (see page 13) for action.

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