CCC: Time is running out for realistic climate commitments

Fri 25 June 2021 View all news

The Committee on Climate Change says that the Government deserves credit for making "historic climate promises in the past year" but that it has been too slow to follow these with delivery.

Publishing two new progress reports, the CCC says "this defining year for the UK’s climate credentials has been marred by uncertainty and delay to a host of new climate strategies. Those that have emerged have too often missed the mark. With every month of inaction, it is harder for the UK to get on track."

The Committee says that while the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was "an important statement of ambition, it has yet to be backed with firm policies". It says that the public has not been informed or engaged in the changes that must lie ahead. 

The CCC says that it is absolutely critical that the new strategy is published before the COP26 climate summit, with clear policy plans, backed fully by the Treasury.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee said: “We are in the decisive decade for tackling climate change. The Government must get real on delivery. Global Britain has to prove that it can lead a global change in how we treat our planet. Get it right and UK action will echo widely. Continue to be slow and timid and the opportunity will slip from our hands. Between now and COP 26 the world will look for delivery, not promises.”

Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation.”

The CCC says that despite UK emissions falling to nearly 50% of their 1990 levels during the 2020 lockdown, the journey to Net Zero is far from half completed. Emissions in 2022 are expected to rebound. It says that, so far, lasting progress in reducing emissions has been narrowly based. The relative success of decarbonising electricity must continue, but it must be matched with solid commitments to decarbonise buildings, transport, industry and agriculture.

In response to the CCC report, Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI's Chief Economist, said: "The Committee’s report rightly demands that the UK’s net zero ambitions are matched by world-leading action. The climate crisis is worsening and currently we’re way off track. Gaps in the policy landscape must be filled with urgency.

“With all eyes on the UK for COP26, it’s important the UK steps up and shows leadership - we can only inspire global action through domestic progress.  That means delivering a plan to drive forward the UK’s net zero transition and unlock fresh investment.

“Together, business and Government can build a legacy founded on green jobs, sustainable growth, and a more resilient, competitive net zero future for every community across the country.”

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