As passionate outdoor people who are fighting to protect the places we love, it’s crucial that we stay informed on climate change policy, so that we can apply pressure where needed, and ultimately influence the systemic change needed to address the climate crisis. What can seem like boring politics on the surface, is actually key legislation and regulation that will determine the future of our planet.
The latest news is a report from the climate Change Committee (CCC) that reports the UK government is falling behind on all climate policies. The CCC’s recently released progress report to Parliament gives an overview on the UK government’s progress on reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. Overall it’s ‘disappointing’ that while the government made huge promises in the past year, it’s been too slow with the delivery of these.
The government must act now to address the climate policy gap. We’re currently on track to achieve only 20% of the required reduction of emissions to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget (emissions targets between 2033-2037).
The problem is two-fold. Firstly, policy is coming in too late. And when it does come into effect, it’s not ambitious enough and does not match the government’s promises.
The government is too slow to follow through on its commitments with actual action, which may result in missing its long-term climate goals.
“The government has rejected the CCC’s findings that it is acting too slowly regarding climate change, citing a 44% reduction in emissions and ambitious targets, but various climate groups, green business bodies and political figures have broadly endorsed the conclusions.” – The CCC
You can view the full event here.
Although 2020 saw a record 13% reduction in UK emissions, there have been few structural or policy changes that could allow this to become permanent:
Current projections with the policy in place are 2.5 – 5°C according to the CCC, most likely 3.5° by the end of the century – so we need to cut further, as well as work on ‘adaptation’ – work to reduce the impacts of climate change such as flood barriers:
Government commitments – what they want to achieve – falls short and very soon we’ll fall behind and off track, as shown by the orange and red areas:
However, the actual policy in place (measures officially set in motion) falls even shorter, and fails to match even their own commitments:
Other Key Points from the CCC:
- The CCC report provides 2000 recommendations. One of them is a ‘net zero test’ to ensure the government policy will meet their targets.
- Only 5 of the 35 sectors assessed have made notable progress in the last 2 years. This must be expanded.
- Need to focus on changing consumer attitudes and technologies, especially in sectors where limiting emissions will be more difficult (ie aviation).
- With many concerns around the actual cost of net zero plans, the Treasury needs to step up to support it.
The government must act now to address the climate policy gap. The legislation and policy must match their promises.
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