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We still need a step change to meet carbon budgets – 30th June 2010

The Committee on Climate Change said today that a step change in the pace of underlying emissions reductions is still required if the UK is to meet its legislated carbon budgets – which require at least a 34% cut in emissions by 2020 relative to 1990 levels.

The conclusions are set out in the Committee’s 2nd progress report to Parliament. Emissions of greenhouse gases have declined over the past year (by 8.6%), but this is almost entirely due to a reduction in economic activity caused by the recession and increased fossil fuel/ energy prices, and is not the result of the implementation of measures to reduce emissions. As the economy returns to growth, the risk is that emissions will increase, and that carbon budgets will not be achieved.

Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, Lord Adair Turner said:

“The recession has created the illusion that progress is being made to reduce emissions. Although emissions have declined substantially, our analysis shows that this is almost wholly due to a reduction in economic activity and not from new measures being introduced to tackle climate change.
“So we are repeating our call for new policy approaches to drive the required step change, in order that the UK can ensure a low-carbon recovery.

“Given new approaches, we are confident that individuals and business will respond, taking advantage of the affordable opportunities available to reduce emissions”.

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