CCC: Gov way off course to meet carbon budgets
Much of last year’s fall in emissions was due to a combination of mild weather, rising fuel prices, falling incomes and transitory factors in power generation, according to the CCC
Current government progress on decarbonisation is only a quarter of that required to meet future carbon budgets, according to a new report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
In its latest progress report on decarbonisation, the CCC claims that only 0.8 per cent of the 7 per cent drop in GHG emissions recorded in 2011 can be attributed to the implementation of “proactive carbon lowering measures.”
The report, published today (Friday,) calls on the government to “move from planning to delivering change.”
Explaining further, David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Committee said:
“Much of last year’s fall in emissions was due to a combination of mild weather, rising fuel prices, falling incomes and transitory factors in power generation. But as the economy recovers it will be difficult to keep the country on track to meet carbon budgets. We need to tackle major challenges to drive emissions down across the economy – and to do this as a matter of urgency.”
Kennedy conceded that there are “some good initiatives in the pipeline” but emphasised that more needs to be done to incentivise people and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Investing in low carbon assets remains a priority – this will put us on the economically sensible path, and allow us to avoid higher costs and risks due to delayed action,” he added.
The Committee report highlights the following three main challenges across “key emitting sectors”:
• Lack of investment in renewable energy and low carbon power technologies
Recommendation: “Electricity Market Reform needs a clear carbon objective, and resolution of detailed design issues, to encourage investor confidence. The government should also rule out a second dash for gas. It is crucial that the programme to fund CCS demonstration proceeds urgently, with projects selected by the end of 2012 and contracts signed by the end of 2013. Within this, there should be at least one gas CCS project. But in general, until CCS is proven, the medium term role for gas should be to provide back-up.”
• Energy Efficiency and Renewable Heat in homes and workplaces
Recommendation: “Incentives should be strengthened to increase delivery rates under the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation and new arrangements are needed to support uptake of renewable heat in the residential sector. This should include: extending the Renewable Heat Incentive; providing finance to cover up-front investment costs; and addressing market barriers such as households lacking information and confidence in renewable heat technologies.”
• Cleaner transport and travel
Recommendation: “There is scope for strengthening policy incentives to encourage reduction of new van emissions. The electric vehicle market needs to increase and developments here must be closely monitored. The decision on company car tax relief for electric vehicles announced at the last budget should be reversed. The government should clarify how it will roll out sustainable travel programmes across the country.”
A copy of the full report can be found here shortly.
Responding to the report, WWF, which supports the CCC's recommendations, said that the government risked letting the Climate Change Act “wither by neglect.”
Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF-UK, said: “For the fourth year running, the Committee on Climate Change has made clear that a dramatic step change in ambition is needed, particularly on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Too many key policies – such as the Green Deal, the Green Investment Bank and now the Energy Bill – are hobbled by lack of ambition and poor implementation.
“Without urgent attention – and a much clearer commitment from the Prime Minister down - the claim to be the greenest government ever is looking like an increasingly empty boast.”
Friends of the Earth Energy Campaigner Donna Hume said:
“The Government must listen to its independent advisor and commit in its new Energy Bill to delivering a fossil fuel-free electricity system by 2030.
“Ministers must abandon their reckless dash for gas to stop investor confidence in clean British energy from our wind, waves and sun from nose diving.
“Our addiction to increasing expensive gas has left hard-pressed families struggling with sky-high energy bills – investing in renewable power and cutting waste will create thousands of new jobs and give us electricity we can all afford.”
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