Discussion at the 9th July meeting was spread over two main topics – the Committee’s report into low-carbon innovation in the UK and preparatory work to inform 4th budget recommendations later this year.
The Committee signed off its report into ‘Building a low-carbon economy – the UK’s innovation challenge’, subsequently published on 19th July. Unsurprisingly, and in the context of current public spending constraints, the level of “low-carbon” spend in the UK – and what to say about it – received some attention. The need for public spend to increase, as fiscal constraints ease, was informed by analysis showing current UK spend is low against main international competitors, and that global spend is itself low against benchmarks suggested by, for example, the Stern Review and the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In relation to the 4th carbon budget (covering 2023-27, Committee recommendations due by the end of the year), we presented analysis on commitments under the Copenhagen accord, looking at consistency with the Committee’s climate objectives (to limit global average temperature rise at or close to 2°c, and keep the probability of an extreme 4°c change to very low levels). Delivery of these Copenhagen commitments are being called into question at present, with various reports downplaying prospects for Cancun. But if these commitments could be delivered, and with very deep emissions cuts beyond 2020, our analysis suggests they could be consistent with those climate objectives. Minutes of this meeting can be seen here