Fifth carbon budget allows for greater ambition set out in Paris Agreement

The Committee’s advice to the Government on the level of the fifth carbon budget remains the same in light of the Paris Agreement, the CCC says today.

In a letter to The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Committee says that the Paris Agreement makes it clearer than ever that UK effort will happen alongside efforts across the world. The Agreement has greater long-term global ambition than current UK targets assume, although pledges by the EU and others to reduce their emissions have not yet changed. The proposed fifth carbon budget supports a more ambitious EU pledge, which will be needed alongside increased ambition from all countries to meet the Paris goals.

On this basis, the Committee repeats its earlier advice that the fifth carbon budget be legislated at 1,765 MtCO2e for the period 2028-2032, representing a 57% cut compared to 1990 levels. This continues along the trajectory that saw UK emissions fall by 36% between 1990 and 2014.

In its letter to the Secretary of State, the Committee says: “The Agreement, combined with the requirements under the Climate Change Act, make it clear that this is the minimum level of UK ambition necessary. It should be met through domestic effort and will require new policies and plans to be set by the Government during this Parliament.”

The CCC also commits to:

  • Assess how the long-term ambition in the Paris Agreement affects the 2050 target and beyond.
  • Continue to monitor whether carbon budgets require changing in light of updated commitments from other countries, including the EU.

The CCC published its advice on the fifth carbon budget in November 2015. As part of that advice, the CCC said it would write to the Secretary of State in early 2016 to set out how the outcome of COP21, and any other significant changes, may affect its fifth carbon budget recommendation.