The “first-ever detailed route map for a fully decarbonised nation” for the UK to meet its zero-carbon goals has been published by the Climate Change Committee.
Last year the UK became the first major economy to make net-zero emissions law.
In its new 1,000-page report, the CCC sets out the path to that goal over the next three decades, including a detailed assessment of the changes that will result – and the key milestones that must be met.
The Sixth Carbon Budget (2033-2037) charts the move to zero-carbon for the UK. The CCC shows that polluting emissions must fall by almost 80 per cent by 2035 compared with 1990 levels – a big step-up in ambition. Just 18 months ago this was the UK’s 2050 goal.
To deliver this a major investment programme across the country must be delivered – in large measure by the private sector.
Climate Change Committee chairman Lord Deben said: “The Sixth Carbon Budget is a clear message to the world that the UK is open for low-carbon business. It’s ambitious, realistic and affordable. This is the right carbon budget for the UK at the right time. We deliver our recommendations to the government with genuine enthusiasm, knowing that Britain’s decisive zero-carbon transition brings real benefits to our people and our businesses while making the fundamental changes necessary to protect our planet.”
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council, said: “The advice on the Sixth Carbon Budget is a game changer and the message is clear: if we don’t act decisively this decade, we will not meet our climate targets. The step up in ambition being advocated by the CCC should be embraced by the government and will demonstrate leadership on the world stage ahead of COP26."
Hirigoyen said that delivering the net-zero goals "will clearly require a significant acceleration of action across the economy, from both government and industry alike, with the decarbonisation of the built environment front and centre".
She added: "A major nationwide investment programme as recommended by the CCC, led by government but leveraging private investment, should focus on improving the energy efficiency of our homes and non-domestic buildings and decarbonising heat. The built environment industry is crying out for the clarity and long-term certainty that must be provided by the upcoming buildings and heat strategy."
She also said the UKGBC "wholeheartedly endorses the CCC’s call for a robust definition of the Future Homes Standard in advance of 2023 and accelerated plans for a new in-use performance standard for commercial properties with all commercial efficiency renovations to be completed by 2030".
Hirigoyen added that the body would “continue to urge government to strengthen policy that drives the property and construction sector to reduce embodied carbon in construction, maintenance and demolition, which is treated separately to buildings in the CCC report".
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: “As technology costs continue to fall, the pathways to net-zero are becoming clearer. Now is the time for business and government to work together to deliver a transition that will secure both our economic recovery and sustainable growth well into the future.
“Last year the CBI highlighted the 2020s as a ‘decade of delivery’ for achieving net-zero emissions. We have a short window of opportunity between now and COP26 to set the clear strategy we need to meet net-zero commitments. With that in place, business, government and society stand ready to deliver.”