Today the Committee on Climate Change published its latest Progress Report. The yearly report shows that Britain’s emissions have fallen by 4.5% a year for three years, but it also highlights that urgent new measures are required to ensure the fifth carbon budget is a success.
Professor Joanna Haigh, Co-Director, Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said: “Over the last year we’ve seen unmistakable physical signs of climate change in many parts of the world, including the rapid acceleration in global temperature rise and increasing risk of floods such as those which inundated Cumbria last winter. And we’ve also seen governments secure, in Paris, a groundbreaking global agreement to curb emissions.
“The key to meeting these challenges is national action. And as the Committee’s report makes clear, while the UK continues to be a leader in rhetoric, the reality is very different.
“The Committee points to glaring holes in policies for home heating, transport and carbon capture and storage, among other things. So whoever the next Prime Minister is, he or she knows where holes need to be plugged – and the quicker they are plugged, the sooner the UK will get back on track to meet the demands of science and the international agreement.”
Richard Black, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “Over the last couple of years Britain has made rapid progress on reducing carbon emissions, mainly by closing coal-fired power stations and building renewables – a 13% emissions cut in three years, while growing the economy, is extraordinary.
“However, this progress resulted from policies put in place four or five years beforehand; policies produce investment and investment gets things built, but there’s always a period of years between the beginning and end of that chain.
“The main message from the Committee on Climate Change is that the train is about to hit the buffers, because current policies aren’t going to generate the investment needed to maintain progress. Just weeks after signing the Paris Agreement, David Cameron’s government is about to finalise its target for cutting UK emissions by 2030 – but his successor will need to put new policies in place if the target is to be met.”