Tuesday, 10 July 2012, 3:54 PM
Published on 29 June, the latest Progress Report by the UK government’s independent advisors on climate change states that the rate of progress on reducing emissions is only a quarter of what is required to meet future carbon budgets.
The 2012 Annual Progress Report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) reveals that only 0.8% of the 7% fall in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in 2011 was due to the implementation of "proactive carbon lowering measures" – meaning progress on tackling climate change needs to be increased by four times if government carbon targets are to be achieved.
Chief Executive of the CCC, David Kennedy, attributed the majority of 2011’s fall in GHGs to "a combination of mild weather, rising fuel prices, falling incomes and transitory factors in power generation", and said that it would be "difficult to keep the country on track to meet carbon budgets" as the UK moved towards economic recovery.
The CCC’s fourth annual report to Parliament echoes the findings of previous reports which stated that a "step change" in the scale and pace of climate change action in the UK was needed to keep carbon budget targets on track.
The report identifies a number of key challenges facing the UK in its bid to reduce emissions, including:
- Lack of investment in renewable energy and low carbon power technologies. Recommendations include: increasing annual investment in onshore and offshore wind; increasing the pace of the demonstration programme for Carbon Capture and Storage, and; requiring a clear carbon objective for reform of the electricity market.
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Heat in homes and workplaces. Recommendations include: increasing the pace of loft, cavity wall and particularly solid wall insulation through a strengthening of incentives under the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), and; establishing new arrangements to support the uptake of renewable heat in the residential sector.
- Cleaner transport and travel. Recommendations include: decreasing new van emissions; increasing the scale and pace of the electric vehicle market, and; clarification of the roll-out of sustainable travel programmes.
The report also includes a chapter specifically addressing progress with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with findings for the devolved regions echoing those of the UK as a whole. The report found, while progress has been made in the devolved regions to increase renewable capacity (particularly in Scotland), continue fuel poverty programmes, and establish ambitious waste reduction targets, future carbon budget and devolved targets still required an increase in the current rate of underlying emission reduction in each sector.
Access the full CCC 2012 Annual Progress Report
and related press release