A new report published today by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) concludes that carbon budgets can be met at affordable cost, but that this will require the strengthening of key policies.
The CCC’s latest progress report to Parliament identifies that good progress has been made on development and implementation of some, but not all, policies. The first carbon budget has been met through successful low-carbon policies but also as a consequence of the impacts of the recession.
There has been strong progress in improving the fuel efficiency of new cars, as required by EU regulation, and in investing in wind generation under the Renewables Obligation. Foundations have been laid for the electric vehicle market and for demonstration of carbon capture and storage (CCS), although uptake of electric vehicles has been low and progress with CCS has been frustratingly slow. In other areas, progress has been limited, notably in energy efficiency improvement in the commercial and industrial sectors and in the uptake of heat pumps. Previous good progress in residential energy efficiency fell away with the new policy regime in 2013.
Under the current rate of progress future budgets will not all be met. Current policies may only reduce emissions by 21 to 23 per cent from 2013 to 2025, rather than the required 31 per cent reduction. To close this gap, the report recommends ways to increase uptake of energy efficiency improvement and investment in low-carbon technologies, supported by some behaviour change.
This is the CCC’s sixth statutory report to Parliament on progress towards meeting carbon budgets. In it the CCC considers the latest data on emissions and their drivers. This year the report also includes a full assessment of how the first carbon budget (2008-2012) was met, drawing out policy lessons and setting out what is required for the future to stay on track for the legislated carbon budgets and the 2050 target. The report includes assessment at the level of the economy, the non-traded and traded sectors, the key emitting sectors and the devolved administrations.
Read the full CCC-Progress-Report-2014