The response to the Clean Growth Strategy
Earlier this year The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) came good on their promise to deliver a reaction to the Clean Growth Strategy.
The main point to take from CCC’s response to the strategy is that it has some good ideas but it does not encourage or enforce the ‘urgent action’ that is necessary for the UK to hit its legally-binding climate change targets. It claims the Clean Growth Strategy doesn’t go far enough and will leave us short of the fourth and fifth carbon budgets.
The 84-page report can be found in full here, but to save time we can present it in an easier to digest manner
Other key points from The Committee on Climate Change report are:
The strategy’s proposed move away from coal towards renewable sources and an increase of biofuels in transport expected to be delivered
The commitment to EU 2021 vehicle efficiency targets are uncertain
Cutting of agricultural emissions needs to be mandatory, where the strategy leaves it voluntary
Doubt hangs over the delivery of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station
No concrete action on energy and emissions reporting framework for business and industry
Firmer plans needed for meeting minimum energy performance standards, improving industry energy efficiency, food waste, nuclear plant delivery and low emission vehicles
Notable absences from the Clean Growth Strategy:
Heat networks to use low-carbon sources
Increased tree planting
Energy efficiency standards for new buildings
Low carbon heating in new builds.
An uncompromising response to the Clean Growth Strategy from The Committee on Climate Change was to be expected, with deputy chair Baroness Brown originally denouncing the strategy’s purely aspirational nature. Something else which was expected from CCC’s report was criticism towards the borrowing and banking from over-delivering carbon budgets, something which they have previously condemned as falsifying targets and destroying chances of hitting them. Unsurprisingly this is covered as early as page 11 in the report, using the term ‘flexibility mechanisms’ to describe such actions.
“The Climate Change Act (which set out the targets the Clean Growth Strategy plans to deliver) includes mechanisms to provide flexibility in meeting carbon budgets (e.g. carrying forward the out-performance of one carbon budget to help meet the subsequent one). These should only be employed in the case of unexpected conditions that, despite strong policy action, would otherwise cause the carbon budgets to be missed. They should not be used to enable ambition to be weakened”
On the more positive side, CCC chairman Lord Deben recognised a shift in tone surrounding emissions since the arrival of the Clean Growth Strategy, and has no objections over its exuberant nature. However, the overall message to take away from the report is that tighter legislation and more detailed measures to meet the targets are required if those fourth and fifth carbon budgets are to be met. In other words, action must back up ambition.
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