UK not doing enough to curb emissions, says climate change committee

The UK’s credibility on climate change rests on government action over the next 18 months, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has said in its latest progress report to parliament - so things aren't looking very promising, are they?

With departing prime minister Theresa May recently committing the country to net-zero emissions by 2050, the CCC reckons the government must now show it’s serious about its ‘legal obligations to tackle and prepare for climate change’.

The committee isn’t impressed with the UK’s efforts thus far, claiming that it’s not doing enough to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Damningly, the CCC says the ‘government has delivered just 1 of 25 critical policies needed to get emissions reductions back on track’.

It gets worse: steps to prepare the country’s ‘homes, businesses and natural environment for a warming world is less ambitious than it was 10 years ago,’ while of 33 key sectors assessed by the committee not a one ‘show good progress when it comes to managing climate change risk’.

Lord Deben, CCC chairman and keynote speaker at next week’s HQN annual conference, said: ‘The UK is the first major economy to set a net-zero emissions target and intends to host the world’s leaders at next year’s landmark climate conference (COP26).

‘These are historic steps forward and position the UK at the forefront of the global low-carbon transition. But international ambition does not deliver domestic action. It’s time for the government to show it takes its responsibilities seriously. Reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, requires real action by government now.’

Baroness Brown of Cambridge, chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, added: ‘The UK is not ready for the impacts of climate change, even at the minimum expected level of global warming. The government is not yet addressing adequately all of the climate risks it has itself identified as critical – including from surface water flooding and the impacts of high temperatures on health.

‘As the UK prepares to host next year’s global climate summit, the government has a window to demonstrate its commitment to addressing these responsibilities. Citizens, homes, workplaces and critical infrastructure must be prepared for a future with unavoidable climate impacts. The effects of climate change are already being felt in the UK.’

If the UK is to meet its legally-binding emissions targets, the CCC recommends that:

  • Net-zero policy is embedded across all levels and departments of government, with strong leadership at the centre.
  • Government policies to reduce UK emissions to net zero are business-friendly. Policy should provide clear and stable direction and a simple, investable set of rules and incentives which leave room for businesses to innovate and find the most effective means of switching to low-carbon technologies.
  • The public must be fully engaged in the UK’s net-zero transition. Over half of the emissions cuts required to reach net zero require people to do things differently. Policy and low-carbon products should be designed around individuals’ needs.
  • The UK strongly leads international action to tackle climate change. The UK should use its new net-zero target, and potential position as host of COP26, to encourage increased effort to reduce emissions worldwide, including pushing for the adoption of similar world-leading targets by other developed countries in the EU and beyond.

Here’s the CCC press release.

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The HQN annual conference is less that a week away – and it’s focused on climate change: specifically, what part does UK housing have to play in tackling the growing menace.

We’ll be looking at:

  • What you will actually have to do to modify the homes you own
  • How you should be making sure new homes meet the required standards
  • The likely costs to your organisation and the impact on the business plan
  • The impact on tenants including income collection
  • The timetable for moving to net-zero emissions

Our speakers include:

  • The Rt Hon. John Gummer, the Lord Deben, Chair of the CCC
  • George Bond, UK Student Climate Network
  • Tom Chance, Housing Policy Expert, Green Party
  • Linda Thiel, Director, London Studio of Scandinavian practice, White Arkitekter
  • Pat Hayes, Managing Director, Be First (London Borough of Barking and Dagenham)
  • Poppy Scott, Worthing Homes

To book your place, click here.