Key messages from the UK Committee on Climate Change’s June 2011 progress report

July 7th, 2011 by Committee on Climate Change

Are the UK Government behind target or not?

In 2009 there was a decrease in UK emissions caused by the recession (9%). There has therefore been a downward shift in emissions, and annual emissions are below the level of the 1st and 2nd budgets.

In 2010 UK emissions increased 3%. Stripping out the impact of the cold winter months (which caused an increase in heating demands), emissions are broadly flat. So there is little evidence of a step change in the underlying pace of emission reduction.

If the UK Government puts in place the measures the Committee on Climate Change suggested are required to meet the targets, it will be possible to outperform the first three carbon budgets. This should be the aim given the deep emission cuts needed to meet the 4th carbon budget, to which the Government recently committed.

We need to be achieving real emissions cuts based on policy changes of close to 3% each year to meet the 4th carbon budget.

2. What is the Committee on Climate Change saying about the Green Deal?

The Committee on Climate Change is suggesting that in order to increase confidence in delivery, the UK Government should better align the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation with the ambition to insulate all lofts and cavity walls, where practical, by 2015 and to insulate two million solid walls by 2020.

In addition, the Committee on Climate Change has recommended that planned regulation on energy efficiency in the private rented sector could be introduced earlier than the planned 2018.

3. What does new car emissions mean?

The average carbon intensity of new cars purchased fell from 149.5 grams of CO2 per kilometre in 2009 to 144.2 grams of CO2 per kilometre in 2010. This significantly outperformed our indicator and illustrates that new cars are becoming more carbon efficient, thereby contributing to emission reductions.

4. Why did UK loft installations and other figures on insulation fall so much? How many million lofts etc have already been insulated and how does this compare.

These installations are subsidised by energy suppliers under the UK’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT). In early 2010, suppliers had mostly achieved their CERT target and an extension to CERT was not agreed till July 2010.

Subsequently, suppliers seem to have been quite slow in ramping-up their programmes, although we have since seen a rise in installations in the first quarter of 2011.

Figures:  There are 26.6 million homes in Great Britain. Of these 23.3 million have lofts. 18.7 million have cavity walls with the remaining 7.9 million having solid walls.

  • 13.2 million homes had loft insulation of at least 125mm, around 357,000 higher than in January 2011.
  • 10.8 million homes had cavity wall insulation, around 203,000 more than in January 2011.
  • 104,000 homes had solid wall insulation, around 4,000 more than in January 2011. Solid wall insulation has been defined throughout this report as internal or external wall insulation installed through Government programmes Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) or Energy Efficiency Commitments (EEC1, EEC2)”

5. What would be the impact of enforcing the UK speed limit in terms of emission cuts? E.g. 70mph, 80mph.

There was an increase in speeding on motorways and dual carriageways in 2009, following several years of decreasing speeding – an increase of around 3%.

DfT statistics show that speed limits are exceeded by the majority of drivers on motorways (52%) and substantial numbers on dual carriageways (42%). A sustained increase in speeds would significantly increase emissions e.g. an 80mph speed limit could result in emissions up to 3.5 MTCO2 higher than restricting speeds to the current limit.

Although there are potential carbon benefits from enforcing the existing speed limit on motorways, the current policy approach includes reduced funding for speed cameras, and, according to commentators, a possible increase in the speed limit.

The Committee on Climate Change has recommended that 10% of car and van drivers and 100% of HGV drivers are provided with eco-driver training by 2020. Our indicators suggest that extensive training of car, van and HGV drivers could result in emission reductions of 1MTCO2 in 2020.

There was very limited progress in training car and bus drivers in 2010:

  • Just over 10,000 car and van drivers were trained through the Energy Saving Trust’s Smarter Driving Programme.
  • Just over 1,500 bus drivers were SAFED trained by the end of March, this was funded by DfT.
  • To meet carbon budgets, 4.5m drivers need to be trained by 2022; to date 15,400 have received training.
  • 10,000 were trained in 2010, compared to around 350,000 which require annual training by 2020.

There are eco-driving schemes across several Member States including Germany, Spain and Netherlands. We have not assessed the quality of other member state schemes.


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