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30th Jun 2022

Current Programmes will not deliver Zero... Latest Climate Change Committee Report June 2022

Started by Martin White

A new Progress Report by the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) finds major failures in delivery programmes towards the achievement of the UK’s climate goals.

CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “The UK is a champion in setting new climate goals, now we must be world-beaters in delivering them. In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, the country is crying out to end its dependence on expensive fossil fuels. I welcome the Government’s restated commitment to Net Zero, but holes must be plugged in its strategy urgently. The window to deliver real progress is short. We are eagle-eyed for the promised action.”

In particular;
Energy efficiency in homes. Given soaring energy bills, there is a shocking gap in policy for better insulated homes. Government promised significant public spending in 2019 and committed to new policies last year, neither has yet occurred. The UK continues to have some of the leakiest homes in Europe and installations of insulation remain at rock bottom – the average annual energy bill for UK households is around £40 higher than if insulation rates from pre-2012 had continued for the last decade. Much now rests on the promised energy advice service, which must be a major undertaking that reaches millions of households and supports them through implementation of options to cut their bills and emissions.

Agriculture and land use have the weakest policies in the CCC’s assessment, despite being vital to delivering Net Zero and the Government’s other goals on food security and biodiversity. Progress in reducing farming emissions has been glacial. The Government’s Food Strategy of a fortnight ago did little to address these issues. They must be tackled in the new land use framework promised for next year.

In its first comprehensive appraisal of UK’s Net Zero Strategy, the CCC warns that:

The current strategy will not deliver Net Zero. Credible Government plans exist for over a third of the UK’s required emissions reductions to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget in the mid-2030s; with a fair wind we will manage another quarter; and over a third cannot be relied on to deliver the necessary emissions reductions.

Delivery must be actively managed. In any case, our plans must be based on realistic assessment. While some policies may be more successful than expected, not all policies will deliver. These risks cannot credibly be tackled with an even greater reliance on greenhouse gas removal technologies.

The Government should develop contingency plans, such as encouraging reduced consumer demand for high-carbon activities (e.g., through healthier diets, or curbs to growth in demand for flights).

There has been slow progress on the cross-cutting enablers of progress. The Net Zero Strategy contains warm words on the wider enablers of the transition, but little progress. There is no public engagement strategy three years after the Net Zero target was signed into law; HM Treasury has yet to set out how the full range of costs and benefits of the transition will be shared – it must urgently review its tax strategy to support the Net Zero transition; comprehensive reform of planning legislation to reflect the UK’s international and national commitments to Net Zero is required; and we still await the urgently needed Future Homes Strategy.

Bottlenecks, such as skills gaps and planning consents for infrastructure, should be anticipated and tackled early.

Local delivery. The CCC welcomes the new Local Net Zero Forum, but it remains unclear how central, devolved and local Government will operate in concert to deliver Net Zero.

The rest of the world must also get to grips with the delivery of Net Zero. UK success is doubly important as an example of what can be achieved, as a template for others to draw on. Effective delivery of Net Zero will be needed across the world if the Glasgow Climate Pact is to have the legacy that the UK aimed for at COP26 last year.

Read the full report here;


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