UK Government’s commitment on long term emissions cuts is step in right direction

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17 May 2011

LONDON: Today, the UK Government has committed to making long term cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Climate Group welcomes the Government's decision to follow the Committee on Climate Change’s Fourth Carbon Budget, covering the period of 2023–27 and reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2025. This paves the way for a 60% reduction by 2030, necessary to achieve an 80% cut (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050.

In 2008 the Climate Change Act set the 80% target to ensure progress of carbon budgets covering five-year periods are proposed by the Committee (an independent advisory body).

However, in setting out details of the fourth carbon budget, the UK government has said that it is going to review progress in EU climate negotiations in early 2014, and if at that point UK domestic commitments are on a different emissions trajectory than the EU Emissions Trading System trajectory agreed by the EU, the UK will revise its budget to align with the actual EU trajectory. This weakens the potential for low carbon economic leadership.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “Today’s decision is a very important step in the right direction. The UK has a huge opportunity to be a global leader in a number of low carbon technologies that will shape the future, with its businesses reaping the benefits of being first movers in fast-growing markets.

"The 2014 review unfortunately does not serve that purpose. What we need is a clear, unequivocal commitment on behalf of the government on the targets set today. Only in this way can we ensure sustainable growth, create jobs for our national economy and enhance energy security”.

The Committee on Climate Change had recommended that 40% of the UK’s power should come from renewable sources, such as wind, wave and tidal, by 2030, and 31% of new and 14% of total cars should be electric by 2030.

Without the opt-out, this will bring new investments into UK plc, with investors receiving certainty that the Britain is committed to expanding both renewable energy and sustainable transport.

Analysis suggests that £16 billion of investment will be needed every year to meet the commitment, some of which is likely to be raised through rises in electricity prices.

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