David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) was today joined by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, at the Scottish launch of the Committee’s first annual report to Parliament.
The Climate Change Act requires the CCC to report to the UK Parliament each year on emissions reductions relative to the UK’s carbon budgets. The CCC’s first report to Parliament concludes that a step change is needed in the pace of UK emissions reduction to meet carbon budgets, and that this will require new policy approaches in key areas.
The CCC’s report found that over the past five years UK emissions have fallen each year by around 0.5%. In Scotland CO2 emissions have fallen by 1.5% in the last five years. Going forward emissions reductions of 2-3% per annum will be required and the UK and Scotland will need to contribute to this reduction.
The report sets out opportunities and policy recommendations for emissions reduction through energy efficiency improvement in homes, more carbon efficient cars, and clean power generation.
The Scottish Government has an important role to play addressing these opportunities given its control over a number of key policy levers. These include powers over planning for infrastructure investments, promoting energy efficiency and setting building standards.
Scotland has an ambitious policy on climate change and its own Climate Change (Scotland) Act which received Royal Assent on 4th August 2009. The Act commits Scotland to reduce its emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, with an interim target for 2020 of a 42% reduction (subject to advice from the Committee).
David Kennedy said:
“It is essential that much more effort is made in reducing emissions. This will require leadership at UK and national levels. The Scottish Government has an important role to play in unlocking the significant opportunities for emissions reductions in our buildings, on our roads and in the generation of electricity. Progress has been made but further progress is needed if emissions are to be reduced as required“
Speaking at the event in Edinburgh the minister said:
“Climate change is the biggest environmental threat that we face and the Scottish Government has a clear duty to support international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We recognise that climate change will have far reaching effects on Scotland’s economy, its people and its environment and are committed to playing our part in rising to this challenge.”
Carbon budgets can be achieved by;
- Using cleaner forms of generating electricity such as wind generation, nuclear and clean coal (Carbon Capture and Storage).
- Improving energy efficiency in homes and buildings
- Improving fuel-efficiency of new cars and ensuring widespread roll-out of electric cars in the UK by 2020.
Implementation of the required measures to achieve budgets would in some instances save people and businesses money and in total cost less than 1% of GDP. In a world where carbon budgets are achieved the typical person will meet more of their energy needs from low carbon power, live in well insulated homes with energy efficient boilers and appliances, we will also work in energy efficient offices and drive more carbon efficient cars including hybrids and electric vehicles. Taking action could also improve the security of energy supply and air quality.
Notes to Editors:
Committee on Climate Change (CCC)
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an independent body established under the
Climate Change Act to advise the UK Government on setting carbon budgets, and to report to Parliament on the progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- The report “Meeting carbon budgets – the need for a step change” was published in London on 12 October. It is the CCC’s first annual report to Parliament on the progress made by Government in reducing emissions and can be viewed by visiting www.theccc.org.uk/reports
- The UK government and devolved administrations published its “UK Low Carbon Transition Plan” in July 2009 to identify actions to meet the UK carbon budgets. To access a copy, please visit: www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/publications/lc_trans_plan/lc_trans_plan.aspx
- The Scottish Government has published a Climate Change Delivery Plan, which identifies the key sectors for abatement in Scotland and the high-level measures required in each sector to deliver both a 34% and 42% emissions reduction target by 2020. It can be viewed by visiting: