The government’s independent climate change watchdog has warned it must take immediate action to tackle buildings and transport emissions or “risk a poor deal for the public in the next decade”.
In its latest annual progress report, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said good progress in tackling greenhouse gas emissions from electricity was masking significant failures elsewhere in the economy.
Overall, total emissions in the UK are 43 per cent lower than in 1990, but most of this reduction has come from the energy sector as renewable sources have replaced coal power.
In fact, this year emissions from buildings and industry have slightly increased, while transport has now overtaken energy as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases - emissions here have increased by 4 per cent in the last five years.
Lord Deben, CCC chairman, said: “Although the UK seeks to lead the world in tackling climate change, the fact is that we’re off track to meet our own emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s.
“We recognise that over the last ten years, the government has shown it has the know-how and commitment to drive down UK emissions in the electricity sector by acting early and consistently.
“We now have to ensure that the government learns from this experience and presents a programme to tackle emissions right across the economy, including in buildings, transport and agriculture.”
Industries under fire
Lord Deben took particular aim at the construction and car industries, saying that the housing sector “should be ashamed of itself” for not building low impact homes.
“If you don’t produce a properly insulated home, you put a burden on the purchaser, and the next purchaser, for the rest of time in terms of their bills.”
Pointing to the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, he also said the automotive sector was “not an industry which has covered itself in glory” and supported recent calls from city leaders to push forward plans to ban petrol and diesel cars to 2030.