UK falling behind on climate action, says CCC

Government has to embed the net-zero policy across all levels and departments of government, with strong leadership at the centre, if it is to be delivered, the CCC said. That includes clear and stable policy direction, investable rules and incentives, space for innovation and an engaged public. “Over half of the emissions cuts required to reach net zero require people to do things differently,” it said. 

The call came in the CCC’s annual report, which said government had taken only one of the 25 policy actions identified in the CCC’s 2018 annual report as necessary to get emissions reductions back on track.

Although ambition remains high on tacking climate change, current policies and plans are insufficient to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets (spanning 2023-2032), the group said. It wanted to see government deliver a route to market for solar and onshore wind; complete the 2019 offshore wind auction and offer contingency plans for cancelled or delayed low-carbon projects; plan for operational carbon capture and storage; be more ambitious on energy efficiency; enable upgrades of local energy networks; and progress the use of hydrogen.

The CCC also said the UK was falling short on adapting to the effects of climate change. It called on the government to require businesses to disclose the financial risks they face from climate change impacts, including those overseas, and ensure businesses plan for risks – as well as identifying opportunities for new goods and services.

Other critical areas where policies are falling short on adaptationinclude the built environment – people have to be protected from overheating – water use and agriculture.

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