U.K. Should Cut Emissions by 60% by 2030 to Meet 2050 Targets

The U.K. should commit to reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by 60 percent by 2030 from the level in 1990 to meet its targets for 2050, the Energy and Climate Change Committee said.

This would mean tightening targets through 2020, the committee said today in a report, adding that proposed emissions reductions can be achieved at a cost of less than 1 percent of gross domestic product.

The U.K. has pledged to get 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Achieving this will require as much as 40,000 megawatts of low-carbon energy projects and a “radical reform” of the electricity markets, the group said.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government plans to announce changes to energy regulations this month as it seeks to accelerate investment in projects to reduce emissions. The committee recommended auctioning off long-term electricity contracts to boost investment in low-carbon projects, including offshore wind and nuclear power. It also suggested establishing a carbon floor price rising to 27 pounds ($42) a ton by 2020.

“The electricity industry has to attract massive new investment,” David Porter, chief executive officer at the Association of Electricity Producers, said in a statement, estimating that as much as 200 billion pounds will be needed by 2020. “In the present financial climate, there is a serious risk that this will not be available.”

Widespread adoption of electric cars and vans could trim emissions by as much as 45 percent by 2030, the committee said. This can be achieved if 60 percent of all new cars and vans sold over the next 20 years are electric and that 11 million electric cars are on the road by then.

“Any less ambition would not be compatible with the 2050 target in the Climate Change Act,” Committee Chairman Adair Turner said in a statement. “The case for action on climate change is as strong as ever.”

The committee was established as an independent body under the 2008 climate act to advise the U.K. on setting carbon budgets and preparing for climate change.

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