The Climate Change Committee (CCC) last month presented the first ever detailed route map for a fully decarbonised nation.
Last year, the UK became the first major economy to make Net Zero emissions law. In its new landmark 1,000-page report, the CCC sets out the path to that goal over the next three decades, including the first ever detailed assessment of the changes that will result – and the key milestones that must be met.
The Sixth Carbon Budget (2033-2037) charts the decisive move to zero carbon for the UK. The CCC shows that polluting emissions must fall by almost 80% by 2035, compared to 1990 levels – a big step-up in ambition. Just 18 months ago this was the UK’s 2050 goal.
To deliver this, a major investment programme across the country must be delivered, in large measure by the private sector. That investment will also be the key to the UK’s economic recovery in the next decade. In many areas, this gives people real savings, as the nation uses fewer resources and adopts cleaner, more-efficient technologies, like electric cars, to replace their fossil-fuelled predecessors. The CCC finds that these savings substantially reduce the cost of Net Zero compared with previous assessments: now down to less than 1% of GDP throughout the next 30 years. This is thanks, not only to the falling cost of offshore wind but also a range of new low cost, low-carbon solutions in every sector.
Climate Change Committee Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “The Sixth Carbon Budget is a clear message to the world that the UK is open for low-carbon business. It’s ambitious, realistic and affordable. This is the right carbon budget for the UK at the right time. We deliver our recommendations to Government with genuine enthusiasm, knowing that Britain’s decisive zero-carbon transition brings real benefits to our people and our businesses while making the fundamental changes necessary to protect our planet.”
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sixth Carbon Budget is a chance to jump-start the UK’s economic recovery. Anything less would shut us out of new economic opportunities. It would also undermine our role as President of the next UN climate talks.”
The CCC’s message to Government is clear: the 2020s must be the decisive decade of progress and action on climate change. By the early 2030s, every new car and van, and every replacement boiler must be zero-carbon; by 2035, all UK electricity production will be zero carbon. Modern low-carbon industries will grow; producing hydrogen; capturing carbon; creating new woodlands; renovating and decarbonising the UK’s 28 million homes. These provide hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the UK.
The CCC concludes that these changes are feasible and affordable but only if they are led by decisive action from Government now. And the process must also be fair and just – the report includes important new insights into how the costs and the benefits of Net Zero can be shared more evenly. These are fundamentally desirable goals, bringing multiple wider benefits including better health, and an improved natural environment.
Read the full report