CCC "essential" to credible climate policy

15th January 2014


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  • Central government ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Adaptation

Author

John Binns

Government departments, parliamentary committees and environment bodies have praised the work of the committee on climate change as vital to green policies

The independent expert advice provided by the committee on climate change (CCC) plays a key role in ensuring the credibility of the UK’s climate change policies and will continue to do so moving forward, confirms Decc following a review.

Decc had asked for feedback from government departments, regulators, parliamentary committees and independent environment groups on how the committee was performing, and concluded that the CCC should be maintained as a non-departmental public body.

“The CCC has the necessary expertise to provide the detailed analysis and advice required to ensure that government sets and maintains appropriate targets and is held accountable,” states the findings of the review.

Decc says there was “a strong feeling from all [government] departments that the functions of the CCC remain relevant”, and that the body was perceived as a “highly credible, transparent broker of climate and energy-related information”.

The review report confirms that the CCC and its adaptation subcommittee were seen as helping to frame climate change debates with policymakers. The environmental audit committee told Decc: “It is clear from our extensive usage of the CCC’s outputs that we value the relevance and usability of its work. The CCC is effective not just in terms of delivering its statutorily required outputs, but by producing material which allows us and other select committees to expand the debate on climate change.”

The CCC’s work was also praised as helping to drive changes in policy, in particular reform of the electricity market, a decarbonisation target and the development of the carbon capture and storage programme. “There is a feeling that these would not have happened as quickly or would have lower ambition in the absence of the CCC,” states one respondent to the review.

While confirming that the CCC should continue to operate largely as it does now, Decc’s review does recommend that the committee take more account of industry and businesses decision-making in its work.

“Business relies upon CCC advice to ensure that, in relation to carbon budgets, the UK has a robust and competitive economy,” notes Decc, adding that comments from industrial businesses and organisations identified the need for the committee to take more into account the concerns of industry.

Decc suggests that the CCC expands on the approach it took to its advice on the fourth carbon budget, published at the end of 2013, where it opened a public consultation calling for evidence to inform its report.

“The review team suggests that the CCC build on this inclusive approach to ensure that business decision making is taken into account,” says Decc.

David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC, welcomed the results of the review and confirmed its recommendations would be taken on board.


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