Ten years ago, the UK Parliament passed the world’s first Climate Change Act, becoming the first country in the world to adopt legally-binding targets and a comprehensive framework to reduce its emissions. Last month, the Energy Minister, Claire Perry, announced that the Government would ask its independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), to review the targets in the Climate Change Act. This was a significant step and has positioned the UK to lead the world once again with the ambition of its climate targets. Since the passing of the Climate Change Act, the UK has enjoyed several domestic and international benefits: accelerated em ission reduction; decoupled economic growth (emissions have fallen while the economy has continued to grow); lower consumer bills as a result of greater energy efficiency offsetting renewables levies; new industries, symbolised by the UK having the most installed offshore wind capacity in the world; and international leadership, with other countries, such as Sweden and Mexico, modelling their climate laws on the UK’s. In a new report published today, Bright Blue finds that scientific, technological, legal, and political changes over the past 10 years have strengthened the case for deeper decarbonisation of the UK economy in the decades ahead. A clear majority (64 per cent) of UK adults agree that the UK should aim to cut its carbon emissions to zero. First, new data from climate science has reaffirmed the need for urgent action to tackle climate change. Recent research shows how climate change is already having an impact in the UK and across the globe, with result s such as declining wildlife populations and damage from flooding. Second, decarbonising some sectors of the economy, such as electricity and transport, is now much cheaper than expected when the Climate Change Act was passed. This is owing to substantial cost reductions in clean technology. It is also now possible to make more progress in difficult economic sectors, such as agriculture and industry, because of new developments in clean technology. Third, significant progress in the international legal framework, especially the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, under which countries must pursue efforts to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. These successes have left the UK’s climate targets less ambitious than the international goals to which it is committed. Finally, deeper decarbonisation is popular with the public. Bright Blue commissioned and analysed new polling for this report, and found that a cl ear majority (64 per cent) of UK adults agree that the UK should aim to cut its carbon emissions to zero in the next few decades. This included a clear majority (58 per cent) of Conservative voters. To drive deeper decarbonisation, the Government should, therefore, enshrine in law a new net-zero greenhouse gas emission target. The Government should ask the CCC to advise on an appropriate date for achieving net-zero greenhouse emissions, so that the UK can make an equitable contribution to meeting the Paris Agreement’ 1.5°C goal.
Telegraph 25th May 2018 read more »