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Climate Change Committee: 'UK should commit to a 60% cut in emissions by 2030'

08 December 2010
Climate Change Committee: 'UK should commit to a 60% cut in emissions by 2030'
On 7th December the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the independent body that advises the UK Government on setting and meeting carbon budgets, recommended that the UK commit to a 60% cut in emissions by 2030 (relative to 1990 levels). 

A 62% emissions cut from 2030 would then be required to meet the (80%) 2050 target in the Climate Change Act. 

The committee estimates that the target can be achieved for less than 1% of GDP and recommended that the carbon budgets currently in legislation should be tightened to reflect a 37% reduction in GHGs in 2020 relative to 1990 (up from 34%). This could be raised again to 42% once the EU has moved to more ambitious climate change targets.

A detailed assessment of opportunities for reducing emissions in the UK over the next two decades shows how the 2030 target could be achieved:

  • Radical decarbonisation and reform of the electricity market – Investment low carbon technologies such as wind, nuclear and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) applied to coal and gas could reduce the carbon intensity of the electricity we use by 90% by 2030. Introducing smart meters to homes and non-residential buildings would provide opportunities for people to better control consumption and reduce energy bills. 
  • Widespread development and deployment of low-carbon vehicles – a 45% reduction in emissions from surface transport is achievable by 2030, mainly through the widespread deployment of electric cars and vans. The Committee suggests that a 60% share of electric vehicles in new vehicles by 2030 would be in line with the recommended target, by which time there could be 11 million electric cars and 1.5 million vans on the road. 
  • Transformation of homes and non-residential buildings – could see many more homes better insulated, with half of all homes that have leaky solid walls insulated by 2030 (3.5 million), and almost 30% of all households using heat pumps rather than conventional heaters. 
  • Halving of emissions from industry by 2030 – through the application of more energy efficient processes and CCS technology to industrial processes and the use of biomass and biogas to meet 25% of all industrial heat demand by 2030.
In addition the Committee made the recommendations to support delivery of the 60% target which include:

  • A national programme to improve energy efficiency, introduce smart meters and support public transport
  • Funding and policies to support the development of CCS for power generation and industry, electric cars and vans, and electric heat pumps
  • Government support for EU-wide 30% emission reduction target in 2020 (relative to 1990), and a 55% cut by 2030 in emissions, with tighter regulations put in place for new. 
The Climate Group welcomed the CCC’s recommendations, not only because they are consistent with ensuring a safe climate but also because they are in line with the ambition demanded by many UK and European businesses and investors as necessary to transform markets and accelerate the commercialisation of low carbon technologies.

Mark Kenber, Deputy CEO of The Climate Group, said: “If the UK government adopts the targets recommended by the CCC, it will put the UK at forefront of the forthcoming clean industrial revolution and position UK businesses as leaders in a series of markets that are set to explode over the coming years. Proposals on electricity market reform and full implementation of the Green Deal, along with investment in the infrastructure needed to support large-scale renewable would both make these climate goals possible and unleash a new wave of investment and opportunity for UK firms.”

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