UK should commit to a 60% cut in emissions by 2030 as a contribution to global efforts to combat climate change – 7 December 2010

The Committee on Climate Change today recommended a carbon budget for 2023-27 and a target for emissions reductions in 2030 – halfway between now and 2050. The recommended target for 2030, to cut emissions by 60% relative to 1990 levels (46% relative to current levels), would then require a 62% emissions reduction from 2030 to meet the 2050 target in the Climate Change Act.

The Committee estimates that the recommended target can be achieved at a cost of less than 1% of GDP (i.e. a fraction of one year’s growth over the next two decades). In order to achieve deep emissions cuts required in the period to 2030, the Committee recommended that the carbon budgets currently in legislation (which cover the period up to 2022) should be tightened to reflect a 37% reduction in GHGs in 2020 relative to 1990 (from the currently legislated 34% cut), which could be raised further again to 42% once the EU has moved to more ambitious climate change targets.

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

“We are recommending a stretching but realistic fourth carbon budget and 2030 target, achievable at a cost of less than 1% of GDP. Any less ambition would not be compatible with the 2050 target in the Climate Change Act. We therefore urge the Government to legislate the budget that we have recommended, and to develop the policies required to cut emissions over the next two decades.”

“The case for action on climate change is as strong as ever: climate science remains robust and suggests that there are very significant risks if we do not cut emissions. And countries acting now will gain economic benefits in an increasingly carbon constrained world.”