Policy update

15th January 2016

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Politics & Economics ,
  • England ,
  • Global


Jamie Murphy

The coming months will be a busy one for policy on climate change and the circular economy, while the UK's future in the EU hangs in the balance.

Inevitably, there were mixed views on the Paris UN climate agreement. For some, actually getting political agreement from 195 countries to take action and set a long-term direction to tackle climate change was a significant achievement. For others, lack of a robust, legally binding framework to prevent global average warming passing beyond 1.5°C represents a failure.

Whatever your opinion, one thing is clear: we have to support national policymakers to implement their obligations quickly and provide supporting evidence to demonstrate that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and implementing climate change resilience actions will enhance their economies, protect communities and deliver the long-term success for communities and businesses. Identifying and articulating “co-benefits” – for example, linking the transition to low-emission vehicles to human health – will be important.

At home, the UK government needs to make a decision on the fifth national carbon budget. Anything less than accepting the advice of the Committee on Climate Change to achieve emissions reductions of 57% by 2028-2032 compared with the 1990 baseline would be contrary to the Paris agreement.

The European commission’s circular economy package has been published. Although it fails to live up to the commission’s stated ambition to be “more ambitious” than the proposals put forward by the previous administration, the lack of detail on precise implementation measures offers an opportunity to steer things forward.

The UK referendum on whether to remain in the EU will be a major focus of domestic policy and debate. In our evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into UK and EU environmental policy, we made the point that the UK had made significant contributions to EU environmental protection measures – an important point that is often missing from the debate.

Martin Baxter is senior policy advisor at IEMA; @mabxteriema on Twitter.


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