The Climate Change Act has formalised the UK’s approach to tackling climate change – both on mitigation (reducing emissions) and adaptation (increasing resilience to climate change). It provides a clear direction of travel, while allowing for flexibility and innovation.
- The Act was based on and has helped to maintain a remarkable cross-party consensus.
- The Act also created the independent Climate Change Committee. The CCC has helped to ensure that the UK’s overall direction of travel on climate change has remained focused on achieving the long-term 2050 target, and kept this aim separate from political fluctuations. As such, much of the Committee’s advice has been instrumental in the UK’s success so far.
- The Act puts in place a rolling cycle of statutory national risk assessments and a resulting Adaptation Programme that must address the risks. Few other countries have a statutory adaptation process of this kind.
- The Act has cemented the UK’s position as an international leader in tackling climate change. Other countries have also introduced their own legislation, and many have based it on the UK’s Climate Change Act (e.g. Sweden, New Zealand).
- Since 2008, six carbon budgets have been approved by Parliament. These budgets create a smooth and practical pathway towards meeting the UK’s 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 100% compared to 1990 levels.
- UK emissions have continued to fall since the Climate Change Act was passed in 2008.