A new progress report by the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) finds "major failures" in delivery programmes towards the achievement of the UK’s climate goals.
In the 600-page assessment, the CCC has revamped its framework for monitoring the UK’s climate progress, focusing on the changes needed on the ground to achieve net zero. Across the economy, the CCC has developed detailed new progress indicators to assess the risks of net zero delivery.
Last year, the CCC applauded the Government for setting ambitious targets and launching a new Net Zero Strategy. Policies are now in place for most sectors of the economy, but a thorough review of progress finds scant evidence of delivery against these headline goals so far.
The UK needs to keep its promises
There are bright signs of progress, but in most areas the likelihood of under-delivery is high. The report states that this is “a high-wire approach to Net Zero” and for the UK’s climate lead to be effective, the world “must have confidence that we will keep our promises and that we have a clear and effective programme to achieve our commitments”.
The report states that some of the strongest areas included:
- Deployment of renewable electricity; and
- Greater adoption of electric cars each year.
In other areas, however, the CCC says there has not been enough action. The report states there has been "slow progress on the cross-cutting enablers of progress" and the government's Net Zero Strategy "contains warm words on the wider enablers of the transition, but little progress" with little public engagement on the strategy over the three years it was signed into law.
The UK is crying out to end fossil fuel dependence
CCC Chairman Lord Deben said: “The UK is a champion in setting new climate goals, now we must be world-beaters in delivering them. In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, the country is crying out to end its dependence on expensive fossil fuels. I welcome the Government’s restated commitment to Net Zero, but holes must be plugged in its strategy urgently. The window to deliver real progress is short. We are eagle-eyed for the promised action.”
Decarbonise buildings and homes
The UK Green Building Council's director of communications, policy & places, Simon McWhirter, said: “As a business network, our members are hugely concerned that Government action to decarbonise the UK’s buildings, particularly our homes, and prepare them for climate change is simply not happening fast enough. Tackling the climate and cost of living crises are two sides of the same coin; insulating our homes will reduce energy bills, bolster energy security and help achieve net zero carbon, whilst also delivering hundreds of thousands of quality jobs. The Government needs to urgently fill the gaping holes in policy for industry to speed up, skill up and scale-up.”
McWhirter added: "The CCC also stressed the central importance of local authorities to drive progress on home retrofit, and the need for coordination and collaboration. But it also recommended more strategic and longer term funding mechanisms. UKGBC is already calling for national funding for at least one retrofit officer in each local authority across the country to boost capacity and skills, and speed up delivery; and we have launched a nationwide local authority network to share best practice.”
Government climate policy is standing still
Greenpeace UK’s political campaigner Ami McCarthy said: “It’s kind of ironic that the CCC has named this a Progress Report when the government’s progress on climate policy is grinding to a standstill. The cost of living crisis should be adding impetus to the kind of action we need to see to stop the climate-wrecking energy waste from our homes, since the solution to both problems – an urgently implemented nationwide insulation programme – is the same. Yet this government seems intent on driving action from fossil fuel giants instead, offering tax breaks to encourage new drilling under the false pretence that it will get us out of this mess.
“The longer this government drags its feet on greening our homes, delivering renewables and moving our food production system away from meat, the sharper and more costly the shift will be further down the line. Time is running out. The government must roll up its sleeves and deliver the benefits of a climate friendly economy for all.”
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