UK will meet third carbon budget, says Decc

11th October 2013

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The government has rejected analysis by the committee on climate change (CCC) which concluded that the UK is not on track to meet its long-term carbon targets

In its response to the latest CCC report on the UK’s progress in meeting its carbon budgets, Decc argues that the committee had failed to take into account the impact of future energy and carbon policies in its analysis.

The energy and climate change department maintains that the country is on track to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 34% on 1990 levels by 2020.

Citing updated energy and emissions projections, which consider government measures that have been announced and allocated funding, Decc confirms that it expects UK emissions to fall below the level required by the third budget. It calculates an extra 42 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) will be saved beyond that required by 2022.

In June, the CCC’s fifth annual report concluded that the UK was not achieving the 3% annual emissions reductions needed to meet either the third or fourth budgets (2018–22 and 2023–27).

The CCC warned that there had been low-uptake of energy efficiency measures in industry and that government policies, such as the green deal and climate change agreements, need to be “rationalised” and incentives “strengthened”. It also advocated the setting of sector specific carbon reduction targets.

While refuting the CCC’s conclusions on the UK meeting its third carbon budget, the government acknowledges that efforts to cut carbon emissions must be ramped up if the country is to meet its fourth budget.

It cites Decc’s recently published energy efficiency strategy and the £250 million support package for energy intensive industries, as evidence it is supporting this transition.

The response also confirms that the government is developing energy efficiency and decarbonisation roadmaps for key heat-intensive industries, which will help each sector to identify energy-efficiency measures and new technologies.

Energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey said: “Our latest projections show that we are on track to meet our first three carbon budgets, but we recognise the scale of the challenge that we face in delivering further emissions reductions and meeting the target of the fourth carbon budget.

“We agree that we need to increase the rate of decarbonisation which is why we are taking action in a number of areas across the economy.”

Alongside the government’s response to the CCC report, Decc launched a consultation on its plans to reform the electricity market, which aims in part to lower emissions from the sector by encouraging greater renewable capacity and lowering demand for electricity.

The consultation, which runs until 24 December, asks specifically for feedback on its proposals for a capacity market – which will include payments for energy demand reduction – and contracts for difference – a mechanism to help boost renewable energy generation.

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