This double report – Progress in reducing emissions and Progress in adapting to climate change provides a comprehensive overview of the UK Government’s progress to date on reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. Together, the assessment offers more than 200 policy recommendations covering every part of Government.
3. Key messages
The Government has made historic climate promises in the past year, for which it deserves credit. However, it has been too slow to follow these with delivery. This defining year for the UK’s climate credentials has been marred by uncertainty and delay to a host of new climate strategies. Those that have emerged have too often missed the mark. With every month of inaction, it is harder for the UK to get on track.
Progress on Net Zero
- Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. Sustained reductions in emissions require sustained Government leadership, underpinned by a strong Net Zero Strategy:
- A Net Zero Test would ensure that all Government policy, including planning decisions, is compatible with UK climate targets.
- An ambitious Heat and Buildings Strategy, that works for consumers, is urgently needed.
- Delayed plans on surface transport, aviation, hydrogen, biomass and food must be delivered.
- Plans for the power sector, industrial decarbonisation, the North Sea, peat and energy from waste must be strengthened.
- The big cross-cutting challenges of public engagement, fair funding and local delivery must be tackled.
Progress on adaptation in England
- Only five of 34 sectors assessed have shown notable progress in the past two years, and no sector is yet scoring highly in lowering its level of risk. We provide 50 recommendations, including:
- Restore 100% of upland peat by 2045, including through a ban on rotational burning.
- Bring forward proposed plans to address overheating risk in homes through Building Regulations.
- Make the Government’s next round of Adaptation Reporting mandatory for all infrastructure sectors.
- Build a strong emergency resilience capability for the UK against climate shocks, learning from the COVID-19 response.
- Implement a public engagement programme on climate change adaptation.
4. Supporting information, charts and data - Progress in reducing emissions
5. Supporting information, charts and data - Progress in adapting to climate change
7. Event highlights