Sixth Carbon Budget

The Sixth Carbon Budget, required under the Climate Change Act, provides ministers with advice on the volume of greenhouse gases the UK can emit during the period 2033-2037.

Published:
9 December 2020

Type of publication:
UK Carbon Budgets

Country focus:
UK

Topics:
Carbon budgets and targets

Contents

The Sixth Carbon Budget report is based on an extensive programme of analysis, consultation and consideration by the Committee and its staff, building on the evidence published last year for our Net Zero advice. In support of the advice in this report, we have also produced:

  • A Methodology Report, setting out the evidence and methodology behind the scenarios.
  • A Policy Report, setting out the changes to policy that could drive the changes necessary particularly over the 2020s.
  • All the charts and data behind the report, as well as a separate dataset for the Sixth Carbon Budget scenarios, which sets out more details and data on the pathways than can be included in this report.
  • A public Call for Evidence, several new research projects, three expert advisory groups and deep dives into the roles of local authorities and businesses.

 

3. Key recommendations

Our recommended pathway requires a 78% reduction in UK territorial emissions between 1990 and 2035. In effect, bringing forward the UK’s previous 80% target by nearly 15 years.

The Sixth Carbon Budget can be met through four key steps:

  1. Take up of low-carbon solutions. People and businesses will choose to adopt low-carbon solutions, as high carbon options are progressively phased out. By the early 2030s all new cars and vans and all boiler replacements in homes and other buildings are low-carbon – largely electric. By 2040 all new trucks are low-carbon. UK industry shifts to using renewable electricity or hydrogen instead of fossil fuels, or captures its carbon emissions, storing them safely under the sea.
  2. Expansion of low-carbon energy supplies. UK electricity production is zero carbon by 2035. Offshore wind becomes the backbone of the whole UK energy system, growing from the Prime Minister’s promised 40GW in 2030 to 100GW or more by 2050. New uses for this clean electricity are found in transport, heating and industry, pushing up electricity demand by a half over the next 15 years, and doubling or even trebling demand by 2050. Low-carbon hydrogen scales-up to be almost as large, in 2050, as electricity production is today. Hydrogen is used as a shipping and transport fuel and in industry, and potentially in some buildings, as a replacement for natural gas for heating.
  3. Reducing demand for carbon-intensive activities. The UK wastes fewer resources and reduces its reliance on high-carbon goods. Buildings lose less energy through a national programme to improve insulation across the UK. Diets change, reducing our consumption of high-carbon meat and dairy products by 20% by 2030, with further reductions in later years. There are fewer car miles travelled and demand for flights grows more slowly. These changes bring striking positive benefits for health and well-being.
  4. Land and greenhouse gas removals. There is a transformation in agriculture and the use of farmland while maintaining the same levels of food per head produced today. By 2035, 460,000 hectares of new mixed woodland are planted to remove CO2 and deliver wider environmental benefits. 260,000 hectares of farmland shifts to producing energy crops. Woodland rises from 13% of UK land today to 15% by 2035 and 18% by 2050. Peatlands are widely restored and managed sustainably.

6. Supporting research

29 July 2020

Sixth Carbon Budget and Welsh emissions targets – Call for Evidence Summary

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6 November 2020

Sustainable Health Equity: Achieving a Net Zero UK (UCL)

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9 December 2020

Sensitive intervention points to achieve net-zero emissions (Sixth Carbon Budget Policy Advisory Group)

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9 December 2020

The road to Net-Zero Finance (Sixth Carbon Budget Advisory Group)

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9 December 2020

Economic impact of the Sixth Carbon Budget (Cambridge Econometrics)

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9 December 2020

Unpacking leadership-driven global scenarios towards the Paris Agreement (Vivid Economics & UCL)

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9 December 2020

Industrial Decarbonisation: Net Zero Carbon Policies to Mitigate Carbon Leakage and Competitiveness Impacts (Energy Systems Catapult)

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9 December 2020

Industrial decarbonisation policies for a UK Net Zero target (CREDS)

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9 December 2020

Deep-Decarbonisation Pathways for UK Industry (Element Energy)

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9 December 2020

Analysis to provide costs, efficiencies and roll-out trajectories for zero-emission HGVs, buses and coaches (Element Energy)

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9 December 2020

Analysis work to refine fabric energy efficiency assumptions for use in developing the Sixth Carbon Budget (University College London)

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9 December 2020

Development of trajectories for residential heat decarbonisation to inform the Sixth Carbon Budget (Element Energy)

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9 December 2020

The role of business in delivering the UK’s Net Zero ambition

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9 December 2020

Corporate Procurement of Renewable Energy – Implications and Considerations

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9 December 2020

The UK’s transition to electric vehicles

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9 December 2020

The Potential of Product Standards to Address Industrial Emissions

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9 December 2020

Net Zero after Covid: Behavioural Principles for Building Back Better (Nick Chater)

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9 December 2020

Local Authorities and the Sixth Carbon Budget

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9 December 2020

Non-CO2 abatement in the UK agricultural sector by 2050 (Scottish Rural College)

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9 December 2020

Updated quantification of the impact of future land use scenarios to 2050 and beyond (UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)

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7. Event highlights & slides

What the Sixth Carbon Budget means for Scotland Watch the highlights. Download the slides.
What the Sixth Carbon Budget means for Northern Ireland Watch the highlights. Download the slides.
Welsh emissions targets: Supporting a Net Zero UK Watch the highlights. Download the slides.

 

Unpacking the Sixth Carbon Budget – the transition for buildings Watch the highlights. Download the slides.
Unpacking the Sixth Carbon Budget – the transition for energy Watch the highlights. Download the slides.
Unpacking the Sixth Carbon Budget – the transition for manufacturing, construction and fossil fuel supply Watch the highlights. Download the slides.
Unpacking the Sixth Carbon Budget – the transition for transport Watch the highlights. Download the slides.
Unpacking the Sixth Carbon Budget – the transition for Agriculture and Land use Watch the highlights. Download the slides.

Topics