CCC advises against carrying forward carbon budget 'surplus emissions'

20th February 2019

Web greenhouse gas istock 983185340

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Central government ,
  • sea ice loss ,
  • Science ,
  • Policy


Rita Polvora

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has advised the government not to role over a surplus of emissions from the UK's second carbon budget into future targets.

In a letter to energy minister Claire Perry, CCC chairman Lord Deben revealed that emissions were 14% below what was needed to meet the country's carbon budget for 2013-17.

However, this was due to accounting changes to the EU Emissions Trading System and lasting effects from the last recession – not because of government policy.

The letter warns that existing carbon budgets are already “too loose“, and that carrying forward a surplus would undermine the integrity of the Climate Change Act.

“The aim should be to meet and outperform carbon budgets through actions to reduce emissions, rather than relying on statistical revisions which can go both up and down,“ the letter states.

“The committee's unequivocal advice is that surplus emissions from the second carbon budget should not be carried forward.“

The long-term goal of the UK's carbon budgets is to achieve an 80% cut on 1990 emission levels by 2050, and the country had already achieved a 43% reduction by 2017.

But the CCC said carrying forward surplus emissions would reduce the ambition of the carbon budgets for 2018-32 and make long-term targets more difficult and expensive to meet.

It warned that doing so would also be inconsistent with the Paris Agreement and make it harder to deliver the government's Clean Growth Strategy.

The letter also highlights how the inclusion of emissions from upland peat might make it necessary to revise future carbon budgets so the required government policy is delivered.

“However, the timing and extent of any such decisions are not relevant to the decision on whether to carry forward emissions from the second to the third carbon budget,“ it continues.

“Any such changes would have to be linked to developments in scientific understanding that underpin the emissions inventory if they were to be credible.“

Image credit: iStock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Weather damage insurance claims hit record high

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close