UK carbon budgets at risk

17th July 2012


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Manufacturing ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Central government

Author

IEMA

The pace of progress in cutting greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions is currently too slow to meet the UK's carbon budgets, the committee on climate change (CCC) has warned

According to its latest report, the UK’s GHG emissions fell by 7% in 2011, but only 0.8% could be linked directly to implementation of proactive carbon-lowering measures.

The CCC cautioned that underlying progress is only one-quarter of what is needed to meet future carbon budgets, and that the government needs to stop planning and start delivering change.

“Much of last year’s fall in emissions was due to a combination of mild weather, rising fuel prices, falling incomes and transitory factors in power generation,” said David Kennedy, chief executive at the CCC. “As the economy recovers it will be difficult to keep the country on track to meet carbon budgets.”

Commenting on the report, the energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, acknowledged that the government faced some very big challenges. “[It] highlights key areas where we need to raise our game to ensure that we meet our ambitious energy and climate change goals,” he said.

The CCC report identifies a lack of investment in renewable and low-carbon energy as a major stumbling block to faster progress in bringing down emissions.

There has been only one-third of the annual investment required in onshore and offshore wind, says the CCC, which also points out that investment prospects for nuclear power remain uncertain and that government plans for carbon capture and storage (CCS) are behind schedule.

The committee advises the government to act urgently to overcome this uncertainty, calling for the proposed electricity market reform (EMR) to include a carbon objective and contracts for four CCS demonstration plants to be signed by the end of 2013 at the latest. It suggests the EMR set a target to achieve carbon intensity of 50gCO2/kWh in 2030 through investment in a portfolio of low-carbon technologies.

The CCC report also warns against a second “dash for gas”, something it says is more likely after the government announced in March that its planned emissions performance standard would allow unabated operation of gas-fired power plants through to 2045.

“A second dash for gas would be a very bad thing … and would increase costs and risks of meeting carbon budgets,” it states.

Meanwhile, the latest data from DECC reveal that renewable sources of energy generated 11% of the UK’s electricity in the first three months of 2012, a 39% increase year-on-year.


Transform articles

Local authorities could have saved Green Homes Grant

The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.

23rd September 2021

Read more

COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.

23rd September 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.

1st July 2021

Read more

Renewable energy will account for nearly 40% of the world's power mix by the end of this decade, overtaking coal within the next few years, according to research by GlobalData.

24th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

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

Find an expert