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Pace of measures to reduce emissions needs to increase fourfold says Committee on Climate Change – 29 June 2012

Despite greenhouse gas emissions falling by 7% in 2011, only 0.8% of this can be linked directly to implementation of proactive carbon lowering measures, said the Committee on Climate Change today in its latest annual progress report to Parliament.

This rate of underlying progress is only a quarter of that required to meet future carbon budgets.  The report therefore urges the Government to move from planning to delivering change.

David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the CCC said:

“Much of last year’s fall in emissions was due to a combination of mild weather, rising fuel prices, falling incomes and transitory factors in power generation. But as the economy recovers it will be difficult to keep the country on track to meet carbon budgets. We need to tackle major challenges to drive emissions down across the economy – and to do this as a matter of urgency”

“There are some good initiatives in the pipeline, but more is needed to improve the investment climate, and put in place incentives so that people and businesses can act. Key policies require further clarification, and gaps in the policy framework need to be addressed.”

“Investing in low carbon assets remains a priority – this will put us on the economically sensible path, and allow us to avoid higher costs and risks due to delayed action”

The report highlights challenges remaining across the key emitting sectors:

Lack of investment in renewable energy and low carbon power technologies. There has been only a third of the annual investment required in onshore and offshore wind by the end of the decade.  Some progress towards new nuclear build has been made but investment prospects still remain uncertain. And there has been slippage in the demonstration programme for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

Recommendations: Electricity Market reform needs a clear carbon objective, and resolution of detailed design issues, to encourage investor confidence. It is crucial that the programme to fund CCS demonstration proceeds urgently, with projects selected by the end of 2012 and contracts signed by the end of 2013. Within this, there should be at least one gas CCS project.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Heat in homes and workplaces– despite good progress on loft and cavity wall insulation, there remain around 7 million lofts and between 6 and 7 million cavity walls to insulate and progress on solid wall insulation has been limited to date. Investment in residential renewable heat remains very low.

Recommendations: Incentives should be strengthened to increase delivery rates under the Green Deal & Energy Company Obligation . New arrangements are needed to support uptake of renewable heat in the residential sector. This should include: extending the Renewable Heat Incentive; providing finance to cover up-front investment costs; and addressing market barriers such as households lacking information and confidence in renewable heat technologies.

Cleaner transport and travel– emissions from new cars have continued to fall but there has been limited improvement in new van emissions. And vehicle miles appear to be on the increase. Consumer response to electric vehicles remains cautious and continued support from the government is required. There is more to do on changing travel behaviour, where much potential still remains untapped.

Recommendations: There is scope for strengthening policy incentives to encourage reduction of new van emissions. The electric vehicle market needs to increase and developments here must be closely monitored. The decision on company car tax relief for electric vehicles announced at the last budget should be reversed. The Government should clarify how it will roll out sustainable travel programmes across the country.

For more detail about progress and recommendations you can find a copy of the full report at www.theccc.org.uk/reports

Notes to Editors:

Committee on Climate Change (CCC) : The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an independent statutory body established under the Climate Change Act (2008) to advise the UK Government on setting carbon budgets,

The CCC’s 2012 progress report will be published on the CCC website on Friday 29th June 2011. You can access it by following this link:https://www.theccc.org.uk/reports

This report also assessed progress made by devolved administrations.

Each carbon budget covers a five-year period, with budgets set at least three periods in advance. The first three carbon budgets run from 2008-2012, 2013-2017 and 2018-2022

Interim & Intended Budgets – 2008-2022. In proposing levels of the first three carbon budgets, the CCC followed the EU framework and produced two sets of budgets: the Interim budget, to apply before a global deal is reached; and the Intended budget which should apply following a global deal on climate change. Both sets of budgets apply to all greenhouse gases (GHGs) rather than just CO2.

The Interim budget requires an emissions reduction of 34% in 2020 relative to 1990 levels (21% relative to 2005). It will require an annual average emissions reduction of 1.7% over the first three budget periods. This is the currently legislated budget.

The Intended budget would require an emissions reduction of 42% in 2020 relative to 1990 (31% relative to 2005). This would require an annual average emissions reduction of 2.6% over the first three budget periods.

The 4th carbon budget of 1950 MtCO2e recommended by the Committee was recently committed to by Government. This will require an emissions reduction of 50% in 2025 (relative to 1990 levels).

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