UK to bust carbon budgets, warns CCC

26th June 2013

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Management/saving ,
  • Generation



The UK will not meet its third or fourth carbon budgets based on current emissions reductions trends, according to the committee on climate change

In its fifth progress report on the UK meeting its long-term, legally-binding CO2 targets, the independent body concludes that, while the country remains on track to meet the second carbon budget (2013–17), it is not achieving the 3% annual emissions reductions needed to meet either the third or fourth budgets (2018–22 and 2023–27).

“Without a significant increase in the pace of emissions reduction, starting very soon, the costs and risks of moving to a low-carbon economy in the 2020s and beyond will be increased,” states the report. “To meet it statutory commitment, it will be necessary for the government to develop and implement further policy measures over the next two years.”

The committee on climate change (CCC) acknowledges that some progress during 2012, such as improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock, generating record levels of energy from wind turbines, and continuing reductions in emissions generated by waste. However, it warns that there were many areas where carbon reductions were not seen.

In particular, the CCC warns that there has been low-uptake of energy efficiency measures – such as insulation and low-carbon heat – in commercial properties and limited evidence of energy-saving activities to reduce emissions from industrial processes.

“Energy intensity [of industry] has not fallen in recent years [and] national accounts data shows low levels of investment in new plant and equipment required to unlock potential for energy-efficiency improvement,” confirms the report. “There is a risk that significant energy-efficiency potential is not addressed for large and small energy users.”

The CCC argues that government policies aimed at supporting organisations to be more energy efficient, such as the green deal and climate change agreements, need to be “rationalised” and incentives “strengthened” to ensure carbon reductions are achieved at the necessary level in future. It argues in favour of the creation of “ambitious minimum standards” for energy efficiency in non-residential buildings, for example.

The report advocates setting targets for different sectors to help drive down emissions, citing the example of the public sector achieving a 12% reduction in emissions in 2011/12, which is nearly half its 2014/15 target to cut emissions by 25%.

The CCC criticises the government’s decision to scrap the performance league table element of the carbon reduction commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme, saying the move has weakened the incentives offered by the initiative. “[The CRC] is now little more than a (small) carbon tax and no longer tackles the non-price barriers it was originally set to address,” states the report.

The committee also reiterates its calls for a 2030 decarbonisation target for the electricity sector, arguing that it is needed to galvanise investment, and for the government to do more to back the development and deployment of commercial-scale carbon capture and storage.

Responding to the CCC’s findings, energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, maintained that the UK was on course to “overachieve against the first three carbon budgets”, but acknowledged that there were challenges in meeting the fourth budget.

“We will need additional policies to meet this legally-binding goal,” he conceded. “We have already published scenarios for how we might achieve the fourth carbon budget and remain committed to doing so. We will consider the recommendations put forward by the CCC.”


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

Transform articles

Risks and opportunities of changing consumer demand

Consumers are flexing their purchasing power in support of more sustainable products and services. Dr Andrew Coburn, CEO of sustainability intelligence and analytics firm, Risilience, considers the risk of greenwashing and sets out three key steps businesses can take to avoid the pitfalls and meet the opportunities of changing consumer demand.

18th June 2024

Read more

Groundbreaking legislation on air and noise pollution and measures to tackle growing concerns over disposable vapes provide the focus for Neil Howe’s environmental legislation update

6th June 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 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

Dr Julie Riggs issues a call to arms to tackle a modern-day human tragedy

15th March 2024

Read more

The UK’s new biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements could create 15,000 hectares of woodlands, heath, grasslands, and wetlands and absorb 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year.

13th March 2024

Read more

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 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