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Fifth carbon budget calms Brexit fears

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The environmental sector has welcomed the news that the Government has set the fifth carbon budget to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 57% relative to 1990 levels.

The Committee on Climate Change advised the Government to set the budget at these levels last year and the Government has now confirmed it has accepted the advice.

The Committee’s chairman Lord Deben said: “I warmly welcome the Government’s acceptance of the CCC’s advice on the fifth carbon budget. Amidst many competing demands it is to their credit that they continue to prioritise efforts to tackle climate change in the UK and internationally. The Government’s commitment to reduce UK emissions by 57% by 2030 will open up opportunities for UK businesses both at home and abroad. It also demonstrates the continued broad political consensus to tackle the serious risks posed by climate change.”

Environment and sustainability professional group IEMA said the timing was critical, as the UK needs clarity on how it moves towards a low carbon economy.

Its chief policy advisor Martin Baxter said: “Achieving the 2030 target will require concerted action and investment. The recent referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU makes the job harder but not impossible. The true test of climate leadership is about sustaining the implementation of policies to achieve long-term climate goals. This decision on the fifth carbon budget provides the basis for giving confidence for investment, innovation, progressive transformation and effective action over the long-term. It must also be reinforced with a clear, post-Brexit, confirmation of the UK’s international commitments and UK ratification of the Paris climate agreement”.

The Renewable Energy Association also said the budget was a “crucial first step” in reassuring investors after the referendum campaign.

Head of policy and external affairs James Court said: “This would be the worst time for the government to row back or U-turn on existing commitments, which would be toxic to inward investors. So this is a positive first step, but will need to be backed up by a robust energy plan by the end of the year.

“The referendum has been a shock to economy, yet we still have a looming energy gap. Renewables will be easier to finance than larger centralised projects, will give the UK energy security and price stability, as well as boost new technology jobs and inward investment.

 

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