UK risks breaking legally binding carbon budget

The Climate Change Committee’s 4th Progress Report, published at the end of June 2012, shows that the UK’s in danger of breaking its legally binding carbon emissions reduction targets.

Since the Climate Change Committee’s 4th Carbon Budget Report in 2010, the UK has a statutory greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target  for 2025, of  50% of the 1990 GHG emissions.

In order to stay within the law set down in the Climate Change Act, the UK needs to reduce its emissions by 3% each year, through actions like increasing renewable energy generation and building insulation. To hit this target, the UK will have to up its carbon reduction game times four.

The Climate Change Committee has identified that only 0.8% of the UK’s carbon emissions reduction in 2011 came from actions to reduce emissions. The rest came from a mild winter, the fall in real earnings and rising fuel prices.

How can the UK reduce emissions by 3% each year?

The Climate Change Committee says that to hit the target, the UK needs:

  • much clearer carbon reduction policies
  • more incentives for businesses to reduce their carbon emissions
  • a threefold increase in onshore and offshore wind
  • speedy implementation of the £1m competition for carbon capture and storage demonstration projects
  • a clear carbon objective in the Electricity Market Reforms that would require the entire electricity generation sector to cut carbon intensity to 50gCO2/kWh by 2030
  • to avoid a new “dash for gas” as a substitute for investing in renewable energy (and they also want investment in new nuclear power stations, which doesn’t seem like a good idea to me)
  • to adequately insulate the remaining 7 million loft and cavity wall houses and make solid wall insulation take off
  • to incentivise the use of electric company cars & the purchase of energy-efficient vans
  • to include eco-driving as part of the driving test
  • to enforce current motorway speed limit

More information here

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