UK 'must back' low-cost green measures, says committee

UK: Unless action is taken now, the public faces an unnecessarily expensive deal to make the shift to a low-carbon economy, according to the government's independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

The government's climate change committee recommends a route to market for onshore wind

First published on Ends Report

In its tenth annual report since the UK's Climate Change Act 2008 came into force, the CCC said the government should support "simple, low-cost" options such as onshore wind  if it is to meet legally-binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s and 2030s.

According to the report, since 2008 the UK has seen a rapid reduction in emissions in the electricity sector, but this achievement "masks a marked failure to decarbonise other sectors, including transport, agriculture and buildings".

In the past five years, emissions reductions in these areas have stalled and, as a result, the UK is not on course to meet the fourth (2023-2027) or fifth (2028-2032) carbon budgets, the CCC report said.

In January, the committee commended the ambition of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy but said it contained few, new detailed policies to reduce UK emissions into the next decade and beyond.

"Five months on, policy details are still largely absent," it said.

The CCC was particularly scathing of the government's failure to support low-cost, low-risk options to reduce emissions, including the lack of a route to market for cheap onshore wind.

Among its recommendations, the CCC said: "The Government should develop policies in areas of unrealised cost-effective potential. We identify that there are cost-effective opportunities to further reduce emissions, for example a route to market for the cheapest forms of low-carbon electricity generation (i.e. onshore wind and solar)."

Talking to journalists at a press briefing, CCC chair Lord Deben said the government must end "the chopping and changing of policy".

First published on Ends Report