Carbon budgets in doubt

15th July 2011

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The UK will not be able to meet its first four carbon budgets if emissions continue to rise as they did in 2010, warns the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its third progress report.

It confirms that during 2010, UK CO2 emissions rose by 3%, mainly as a result of the cold winter weather. But even after adjusting for weather impacts, the underlying trend in emissions reductions is flat, and well below the 3% annual cut necessary to meet carbon budgets up to 2027.

The data reveal that only transport emissions fell in 2010 compared with 2009 levels, whereas discharges from power stations and industry increased by 3.9% and 1.3% respectively, and emissions from residential buildings soared by 13.4%.

The CCC called on the government to significantly accelerate the pace of emission reductions. It says the planned electricity market reform (EMR) and Green Deal is key to driving down emissions.

The report requested the government include a commitment to long-term energy supply contracts – so-called “contracts for differences” – in the white paper on EMR, to help avoid an investment hiatus in renewables.

The CCC also says the Green Deal should include support for ambitious targets to insulate all lofts and cavity walls by 2015, and two million solid walls by 2020.

The recommendation comes as the latest figures indicate that the popularity of wall insulation is declining, with the number of cavity wall installations falling by 300,000 between 2009 and 2010, while there were 2,000 fewer solid wall installations.


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