- Committee on Climate Change recommends 5th carbon budget level
- Britain already committed to cut emissions in half by 2025
The U.K. should cut its emissions 57 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, a panel advising the government said, suggesting more work is needed to lower greenhouse gases from heating and transport.
Britain should limit emissions to 1,765 million tons of carbon dioxide for the five years from 2028 through 2032, Committee on Climate Change said Thursday in an e-mailed report. That would represent the fifth five-year “carbon budget” for the country as it strives to cut emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels in 2050.
The recommendations that the government is bound to consider by law suggest Prime Minister David Cameron’s administration needs to do more to create incentives for clean energy. Cameron and Energy Secretary Amber Rudd have been criticized by environmental groups and renewables developers for slashing subsidies for solar, wind, biomass and energy efficiency, something ministers say is necessary to contain electricity bill costs.
If adopted, the panel’s recommendations would “send a clear signal to businesses and consumers that U.K. climate ambition remains on track through the 2020s and into the 2030s,” said Committee Chairman John Gummer, a member of the House of Lords. “The U.K. can continue to play its part at lowest cost to business and consumers while properly positioning our country for the environmental and economic realities that lie ahead.”
The committee’s recommendations are important because it was set up under the 2008 Climate Change Act to guide government policy on reducing emissions and fighting global warming. If ministers ignore the committee’s advice, they are legally required to explain why. Cameron’s previous administration, in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, legislated to cut emissions in half by 2025.
Cameron on Wednesday defended the government’s record, saying it would double investment in renewable energy during the current five-year Parliamentary term. Ministers are striking the “right balance between affordable energy and making sure that we meet our green targets,” Cameron told lawmakers in Parliament.
The government will need to bring in new policies to ensure greenhouse gases come down by the 2030s, according to the committee. One in seven homes will need to be heated by low-carbon technologies such as heat pumps, it said. The majority of new cars and vans bought in the early years of that decade will need to be fully or partially electric, it said. In the power sector, emissions per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced will need to fall below 100 grams of carbon dioxide from about 450 grams now, it said.