UK government ambition must match Climate Change Committee recommendations

December 7th, 2010 by WWF

As the UK government prepares new legislation aimed at improving the energy efficiency of buildings and reducing emissions from the power sector, the Committee on Climate Change has set out what it sees as the key measures needed to ensure the UK cuts its CO2 emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 (relative to 1990 levels).  The recommendations contained within its fourth carbon budgets are a wake up call for Ministers attending the UN climate talks in Cancun.

David Norman, Director of Campaigns at WWF-UK, says: “The UK is one of the first developed countries to propose ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030 under a legally binding framework. As Governments meet at the climate change conference in Cancun, David Cameron could now show great international leadership by accepting these recommendations immediately. Taking action now to achieve the 2030 target will benefit our environment, our energy security, and the UK economy, as well as setting an example to other developed countries.”

WWF-UK now urges the government to respond to the Committee’s recommendations with strong policies to reduce energy demand and decarbonise the power sector in an environmentally sustainable and economically efficient way.

“The Committee is clearly saying that emission cuts of 60 per cent by 2030 are eminently achievable, despite the current economic conditions, but this will not happen without a step change in policies. With the Energy Bill published this week and the reform of the electricity market, the Government has a perfect opportunity to show it is seriously committed to reducing energy demand and decarbonising the power sector by 2030 through clean, renewable energy. The case for a strong, nationwide home energy efficiency programme and a strong emissions performance standard for power stations has never been stronger.”

David Norman added that “immediate priorities for the government should be to support the substantial and sustainable growth of the UK’s renewables industry, which would be of great benefit to the UK economy.

A Guernsey house that recently received cavity wall insulation (photography in July 2008 - ©RLLord)

A national transformation of the housing stock is possible through the Green Deal, but the ambition for reducing energy demand and carbon emissions through this programme is yet to be defined. A slow burning Green Deal, or a programme focused on delivering just loft and cavity insulation, will not take us to 2020, let alone 2030, carbon reductions, so we want to see every home benefiting from a whole house makeover.”

“By accepting the Committee’s recommendations for UK action, the Government could show it is really serious in its efforts to persuade the EU to raise its game on climate change. The EU’s current targets for 2020 are now essentially business as usual – a lot more ambition is needed to kick-start the green economy and prevent costly lock-in to high carbon investments.”

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