CCC advises government not to “bank” emissions

The Committee on Climate Change has written to Greg Barker, Minister of State at DECC, recommending that the government should not relax emission reduction targets for the 2013-2017 carbon budget period.

When emissions have been reduced by more than the target set in the carbon budget, the Climate Change Act allows government to carry forward (or bank) the difference to the following budget. Final emissions data confirm that the first carbon budget has been met, with emissions around 1% below the level of the legislated budget (2,982 MtCO2e compared to 3,018 MtCO2e).

The Committee has warned that carrying over emissions and effectively increasing the size of the second carbon budget would ultimately increase costs to the UK and put at risk its ability to meet longer-term emissions targets.

If current policy plans are successfully implemented the UK is on target to meet the next two budget periods. However carrying over emissions would undermine incentives for further policy development and put their successful implementation at risk.

Carbon budgets are a set of five-year targets, to set a track towards the UK’s overall target to reduce emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. The first carbon budget covered the period 2008 to 2012.

The government must take account of advice provided by the CCC when making its decision. This must be made no later than 31 May 2014.

Read the letter and the attachment from Lord Deben to Gregory Barker, Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).