Advice submitted to the UK government by its own Climate Change Committee has come under heavy fire, and been labelled as “desperately disappointing.”
The UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) was due to provide updated recommendations to the UK government this week following in the wake of the climate accord struck in Paris in December last year. However, in a letter to the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, the CCC reiterated its earlier 5th carbon budget recommendations.
“The Paris Agreement has greater long-term global ambition than current UK targets assume,” the CCC conceded in their letter. “But the pledged contributions by the EU and others have not yet changed. On that basis we repeat out recommendation that the fifth carbon budget be legislated at 1,765 MtCO2e.”
To be fair to the Climate Change Committee, they go on to immediately note that the Paris Agreement, “combined with the requirements under the Climate Change Act, make it clear that this is the minimum level of UK ambition necessary. It should be met through domestic effort, and will require new policies and plans to be set by the Government during this Parliament.”
Unsurprisingly, however, given the CCC’s decision to keep its recommendations unchanged, it has come under heavy criticism.
“This is desperately disappointing advice from the government’s climate advisor,” said Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth CEO. Going on:
“Last month the international community agreed to ‘pursue efforts’ to keep global temperature rises to 1.5C – the Committee on Climate Change should have provided comprehensive advice and guidance on what measures the UK needs to take to help achieve this.
“The positivity and back slapping of Paris will fade very soon, unless our official advisory and regulatory bodies realise what governments signed up to in December – and work out what it means for action back home.”
There has also been some more steadied responses to the CCC’s decision.
“The climate agreement that all countries struck in Paris last month is likely to accelerate progress towards a global low-carbon economy, and so it’s entirely right that the Committee looked again at its advice to ensure that the UK wouldn’t be left behind,” said Richard Black, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU). Going on:
“It’s concluded that if the UK meets the existing carbon budgets, we’ll be cutting emissions as far and as fast as comparable countries, which is clearly sensible.
“But the Committee also pointed out that we currently have little idea how this government intends to reduce emissions, let alone ensure energy security; having spent its first six months emptying the energy policy cupboard, it has yet to re-stock and thereby give investors the confidence they need to get us back on track.”
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