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Meeting Carbon Budgets – ensuring a low-carbon recovery (2nd progress report)

As part of its statutory role, the Committee provides annual reports to Parliament on the progress that Government is making in meeting carbon budgets and in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Meeting Carbon Budgets – ensuring a low-carbon recovery is the Committee’s 2nd progress report. Within this report we assess the latest emissions data and determine whether emissions reductions have occurred as a result of the recession, or, as a result of other external factors. We assess Government’s progress towards achieving emissions reductions in 4 key areas of: Power, Buildings and Industry, Transport and Agriculture.

Download individual chapters of the report


Limited numbers of the CCC’s full report were printed. The report was printed using waterless printing, 100% renewable energy and vegetable oil based inks on paper with 100% recycled content, FSC, EMAS and ISO 14001 certified.

Supporting research

The CCC commissioned research from a number of consultants to inform its advice on meeting carbon budgets. Consultant’s reports are listed below according to the chapter that they support and can be accessed and downloaded by clicking on the relevant link.

Supporting data

The data set which was used to produce the exhibits published in “Meeting carbon budgets – ensuring a low-carbon recovery” is available to download and view by clicking on the relevant links below.

Reaction to Progress Report 2010

A number of organisations reacted to the findings of the Committee’s 2nd Progress Report to Parliament by issuing statements. This page contains a summary of these.

Neil Bentley, Director of Business Environment at the CBI said: “We are not making fast enough progress and we need to see urgent decisions from the new government. The electricity market needs reform, and a cost-effective way must be found of persuading householders to make their homes more energy efficient”.

Andy Atkins, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth said: “It’s extremely disturbing that, despite a similar warning from the Committee last year, the recent fall in UK emissions is mainly due to the recession. This report is further evidence of the need to build our future prosperity on safe, green foundations – a low carbon economy will create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs and increase our energy security by reducing our addiction to overseas gas and oil. “We need greater effort and ambition, starting with a Government pledge to cut UK emissions by 2020 by at least 42 per cent, as demanded by the science. It’s time for tough action on global warming.”

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council said: “There’s no escaping the implications of this report – we need to up our game if we’re to meet our legally binding carbon targets. The Committee is right to highlight the importance of our built environment. We need a massive programme of refurbishment for our homes, businesses and public buildings, which will not only put us on a cost-effective fast-track to cutting carbon, it will provide much needed employment in the construction and property sector. A lot rests on the upcoming Energy Bill and Government’s plans for a ‘Green Deal’ scheme for households. It’s crucial that this scheme delivers, not just for our leaky housing stock, but also for non-residential buildings, which together are responsible for 43 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions.”

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: “As the Climate Change Committee makes clear, we mustn’t rely on economic recession to cut emissions. There has to be an enduring shift to low carbon, driving growth in new technologies, and it must be locked into the fabric of our economy in good times and bad. This Government will be the greenest ever. We will overhaul the energy efficiency of homes through our Green Deal, we are working to create a Green Investment Bank to help low carbon investment, and we have committed central government itself to cut emissions by 10% within a year. This will help tackle climate change, and it will create jobs and prosperity as the economy recovers. We welcome the Committee’s second annual report and will report back on progress later this year.”

Keith Allot, WWF-UK’s Head of Climate Change said: “It is clear that the UK’s current climate and energy policies are not delivering, and the Committee on Climate Change is right to call for a step change. But the good news from the Committee is that sensible, cost-effective policies could allow the UK to beat the more ambitious “intended” target to cut emissions by 42% by 2020. The new government should act quickly to adopt the 42% target – this would lay the foundations for a green economic recovery, and also allow the UK to show true leadership in Europe and internationally. The Committee also makes clear that a strong push on efficiency in homes and a drive to decarbonise the power sector by 2030 are key priorities. The forthcoming Energy Bill is a great chance to get things moving – for instance by introducing an emissions performance standard for coal and gas power stations.”

Craig Bennet from the Prince of Wales UK Corporate Leaders Group said: “Today’s report from The Committee on Climate Change, arguing that a step change is needed if the UK is to meet its legislated carbon budgets, echoes messages that have been made by The Prince of Wales’s UK Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (UK CLG) on several occasions over the last few years. The group agrees with the Committee’s headline assessment that a step change in the pace of underlying emissions reductions is still required and with its concern that, as the economy returns to growth, there is a risk that emissions will increase and that carbon budgets will not be achieved”. The UK CLG is looking forward to working in partnership with The Committee on Climate Change and the new Coalition Government in helping to shape the step change that is required”.

Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF Energy said: “The UK needs investment in clean, secure and affordable energy so that carbon emissions fall even as the economy strengthens. We agree with the Committee on Climate Change that urgent action is needed now to encourage investment in all forms of low carbon power generation. As the CCC says, it is crucial the Government drives forward its plans to develop policy to address climate change.”

Charlie Mayfield, Chair of John Lewis Partnership said: “The economic environment over the past year has been challenging for all of us. If we are to emerge from the recession stronger and fitter then a commitment to tackling climate change has to be at the heart of both business and government policy. The Partnership recognises the urgency of this challenge and is now seeking absolute changes in our emissions, not just improvements in relation to the size of our business. We therefore welcome the clear signal from the Committee for new policy to drive a step change in the UK’s emissions reductions.”

Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher PLC (parent company of B&Q) said: “What this shows is that there is only so much business can do alone. Without strong leadership from Government, the step change we need will not be realised, which makes the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations very welcome. Yet consumers should not be ignored as we progress. B&Q’s experience shows that there is a strong appetite among the public to reduce individual carbon impact. Government must harness this by adopting those measures which will allow businesses to change consumer behaviour for the better.”

Truett Tate, Group Executive Director, Wholesale of Lloyds Banking Group said: “The global market for low carbon goods and services is growing swiftly. However, this is a globally competitive market and we agree with the Committee on Climate Change that a policy-led step change is needed to ensure that UK businesses are well placed to seize these commercial opportunities in a way that will stimulate the economy”.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of the Campaign for Better Transport said: “The Committee on Climate Change’s report shows that we need to encourage greater use of trains and buses if we are to meet our carbon targets. Yet the new Coalition Government is now considering measures that would actually put people off using public transport by increasing fares and failing to tackle overcrowding. The Committee’s report should influence the spending review by prioritizing smarter choices, such as travel plans for schools and workplaces. The Government’s planning policy should also promote developments less dependent on cars, rather than nodding through high-carbon developments as they have with plans to redevelop Brent Cross. We simply cannot afford this Government’s action on carbon reduction to be as dire as England’s performance in South Africa.”

David Porter, Chief Executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said: “The electricity generating industry wants to invest to replace ageing plant, comply with the EU Renewable Energy Directive and make the transition to a low carbon industry. It requires £200 billion of investment by 2020 in power stations and networks. Massive investment like that demands a clear and stable framework of policy or investors will not make their money available. It is hard to see the UK’s low carbon agenda being delivered with the present framework. We shall work with government to find a cost-effective solution.”

Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said: “UK emissions may have reduced because of the recession, but when the economy pulls back the floodgates will open unless we invest in energy efficiency and renewables now. Heating accounts for 47% of emissions, and the Committee’s modelling assumes the expected renewable heat policy kicks off on 1st April next year. We are awaiting confirmation that this will be the case. Decarbonising our heating through renewables is not only the cheapest means of delivering our legally binding renewables target, but it’s the one where most progress is required. Delay will only cost us more.”

Tim Noble, Managing Director, SAP UK & Ireland said: “Sustainability should be a topic at the heart of every business. All organisations have ethical responsibilities to the environment, but there is also a need for leaders and employees to understand the bottom line savings that can be made through having a sustainability strategy in place. Organisations should look at both innovation as a route to short term efficiency gains, whilst having a long term transformation in place. SAP welcomes the new policy that will support businesses to drive reduction of UK emissions forward.”

Joan McNaughton, Senior Vice-President of Power and Environmental Policy at Alstom Power said: “The Committee on Climate Change is correct – our first carbon budget has not been achieved by design. It’s been a result of the recession and as the economy picks up, emissions will go up again. The new government must act now to stop that from happening. This is no time to relax our efforts on climate change. Ministers need to act swiftly on electricity market reform and on setting the conditions for a stronger carbon price. We strongly agree with the committee on the need to support early adoption of coal and gas CCS projects. Without concerted action from the public and the private sectors, the UK will struggle to meet the tougher carbon budgets to which the government is rightly committed.”

Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: “The Committee’s report shows that industry has made significant strides in reducing CO2 emissions. “The report supports industry’s view that consumer incentives are needed to encourage the early uptake of ultra-low carbon vehicles. SMMT is also seeking a longer term approach to vehicle taxation and environmental incentives so that the improvements industry is making to conventional technologies can be fully exploited.”

Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We welcome the Committee’s headline message that greater urgency is needed to meet carbon budgets. A number of the priorities identified by the Committee are also commitments in the Coalition Agreement, such as electricity market reform and the implementation of a carbon floor price. Prompt action will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but will be vital for the economic recovery, boosting growth, jobs and competitiveness. “It is imperative that no-one use the reduced emissions caused by the recent recession as evidence of less urgency to act. Quite the contrary, this is an opportunity to accelerate the transition. The government should seek to set more ambitious targets, specifically by urging the EU to commit to a 30% reduction by 2020.”

Greenpeace energy campaigner Vicky Wyatt said: “For far too long, politicians in government have been all talk and no trousers when it comes to climate change. And that’s what this report is saying. If this new government is going to change that, they’ve got to match the ambitions of other countries, who are leaving us behind. For instance, China has invested billions in cutting-edge electric vehicles, while the UK government is still wavering on an investment of £260 million for green cars. “It’s not all about cars though. The government has also got to kick out the dirtiest power stations, and they’ve already promised an emissions performance standard. This has got to be right at the heart of new energy legislation, otherwise we could see the door open to climate wrecking power plants like the one proposed at Kingsnorth. It’s time for politicians to stop talking out of their exhaust pipes when it comes to tackling climate change.”