CCC calls for tighter emissions targets

3rd February 2011

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Recommendations for the fourth carbon budget (2023-27) have been put forward by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and require the UK to reduce its greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 60% against 1990 levels by 2030.

The committee also calls for a tightening of budgets two (2013–17) and three (2018–22) – compared with the legislated interim budgets – to achieve a 37% reduction in emissions by 2020, rather than the current 34%.

It warns that the UK 2020 target could rise further, to 42%, if over the next few months the EU agrees a more ambitious target – to a 30% reduction from the current 20% cut by the end of the decade.

The CCC says that to put the UK on a path to meet the target in the Climate Change Act 2008, to reduce emissions by 2050 to 80% below 1990 levels, will require a 60% cut by 2030 – a 46% fall over the next 20 years.

“By 2030, the UK should aim to have reduced total GHG emissions from today’s level of 574 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) to around 310 MtCO2e,” says the CCC.

The committee urges parliament to legislate for what it calls a “domestic action” budget for 2023–27, so that emissions cuts are achieved through national reductions without recourse to the purchase of credits in international carbon markets, including through the EU emissions trading scheme.

It has also provided a budget – referred to as the “Global offer” budget – should a new international treaty be reached covering the 2020s.

According to the CCC, the 60% target for 2030 can be achieved at a cost of less than 1% of GDP in 2025. Policy recommendations to achieve the targets are focused in five main areas:

  • decarbonisation and reform of the UK electricity market, including investment in low-carbon technologies, such as wind, nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce the carbon intensity of the electricity generated by 90% over the next two decades;
  • widespread deployment of low-carbon vehicles – mainly electric cars and vans – to secure a 45% reduction in emissions from surface transport by 2030;
  • better insulation of buildings and increased use of energy efficient heating systems, such as heat pumps;
  • improved use of energy-effi cient processes and CCS technology by industry to halve industrial emissions by 2030; and
  • greater use of more carbon-effi cient practices in the agricultural sector to cut emissions by up to 20% over the next two decades.

The UK's four carbon budgets

Budget 1
Budget 2
Budget 3
Budget 4
Domestic action
Global offer

Source: Committee on Climate Change


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