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Government 'inaction' slows UK emissions reduction

Flickr/ Shever

Government inaction over cutting carbon in the industry, transport and housing sectors is delaying emissions reduction, an influential environmental body has said. 

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) annual progress report praises ‘‘bold’’ policies that have cut emissions from electricity generation, but says the success masks failure to act in other sectors. 

CCC chairman Lord Deben urged government to “act now” to decarbonise, adding “climate change will not pause while we consider our options”. 

The government should invest in long-term infrastructure such as carbon capture and storage, floating offshore wind farms and installing heat pumps in buildings, the report recommends.  

“Decarbonising electricity generation is the clear achievement of the last decade – a notable success in line with the Committees early recommendations, which will underpin a strategy of shifting progressively from fossil fuels to low-carbon electricity,” the report says. 

“But progress in the power sector masks a marked failure to decarbonise other sectors. In the last five years, this failure has become more acute, as emissions reductions in these sectors have stalled.”

Commenting on the report Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) director Richard Black said current policies will not enable Britain to meet carbon reduction targets.

He said: “The Committee said in January that ministers need to close that policy gap by the end of the year – and halfway through it, the government has not enacted any new low-carbon measures.

“Its report is remarkably explicit in advising reliance on simple, proven, low-cost options, including cutting energy waste and re-booting onshore wind power, while also tackling sectors such as transport where emissions are not coming down.

“As the Climate Change Act celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, the CCC is effectively recommending the very things that have made the Act such a success – consistent policymaking, which provides certainty to businesses, driving decarbonisation at the lowest possible cost. And really its prescription is very simple: ‘more of the same, and quickly’.”




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