According to the Climate Change Act, the UK is legally obliged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, against a 1990 baseline.
To help meet these targets, government introduced a system of carbon budgets which provide carbon emission targets or budgets in successive five-year periods, beginning in 2008.
The UK has achieved its first budget – a 23% carbon reduction between 2008 and 2012, and is likely to achieve the second budget – a 29% reduction by 2017. But the report says this is largely due to the economic downturn and says that “we are not currently on track to meet the third and fourth carbon budgets” – a 35% cut between 2018 and 2022 and a 50% reduction until 2027.
The report continues: “Without a significant increase in the pace of emissions reduction, starting very soon, the costs and risks of moving to a low carbon economy in the 2020s and beyond will be increased. To meet its statutory commitments, it will be necessary for the Government to develop and implement further policy measures over the next two years.”
One key policy area to tackle is the Electricity Market Reform (EMR), according to the report, which says that the EMR delivery plan should be designed to “provide clarity for investors over the government’s intentions as market-maker” and set prices the government intends to pay for wind energy. Ways to give clarity to investors include setting a carbon-intensity target for 2030, the report says.
CCC also appeals to the government to consider financial or fiscal incentives to boost uptake of its Green Deal energy efficiency scheme.
Another recommendation in the report is to tighten building regulations “in line with the previously announced schedule towards all new homes being zero carbon from 2016”.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said the EMR delivery plan, which it will publish next month, “will provide certainty for investors in the strike prices for renewables”.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, said DECC will consider the report’s recommendations and respond formally in October.
See also: CSW’s interview with Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive at the Green Investment Bank