The government’s independent climate change advisors have warned that its ‘clean growth’ plans fall short of the ambition required, with the private sector also needing to pick up the slack.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the watchdog established to track the UK’s progress against its legally-binding carbon budgets, has published its response to the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which was revealed in October last year.
While praising its “good progress”, the CCC believes the strategy “does not go far enough” and risks missing upcoming carbon budgets by “a significant margin”.
Lord Deben, chair of the CCC, said: “The Clean Growth Strategy is ambitious in its aims to build a thriving low-carbon Britain but ambitions alone are not enough.
“As it stands, the strategy does not deliver enough action to meet the UK’s emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s. The government’s policies and proposals will need to be firmed up as a matter of urgency.”
In particular, the committee has urged the government to provide more detail about its plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 and make greater near-term improvements to energy efficiency in buildings.
According to a separate survey of energy efficiency suppliers and customers, a significant portion of businesses believe the Clean Growth Strategy’s target to improve commercial building efficiency by 20 per cent by 2030 is not ambitious enough.
Private sector slack
The CCC also believes the private sector needs to take more action. For example, it points out that the electrification of transport in the consumer market is currently faster than the change being seen in the business sector.
While some companies are investing in electric vans, the CCC says the change is not nearly quick enough and wants industry to embrace the technology more fully, as well as invest in better efficiency and eco-driving training.
Meanwhile, with Brexit now firmly on the horizon, the CCC advises that the government will have to maintain, or surpass, EU legislation on areas such as product standards and vehicle efficiency regulations to stay on track.