28 June 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The government must give emissions reduction more of a priority, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
The report states that the UK is "not on course to meet the legally binding fourth and fifth carbon budgets".
It will not be on course "unless risks to the delivery of existing policies are reduced significantly and until the government brings forward new fully funded policies, beyond the achievements to date on electricity generation and waste. It is five months since our assessment of the UK Government's Clean Growth Strategy.
"Over this period, a number of worthwhile commitments have been made, including the recent 'mission' to at least halve the energy use of new buildings in the UK by 2030. But these new announcements do not alter substantively our assessment of the UK's long-term emissions trajectory. The coming period is critical, therefore, in demonstrating that the UK Government's strategy has moved decisively to a new set of priorities."
The CCC recommends that the government should support "simple, low-cost options" and that "worries over the short-term cost of these options are misguided" and "the whole-economy cost of meeting the legally binding targets will be higher without cost-effective measures in every sector".
It also calls on the government to commit to effective regulation and strict enforcement, "end the chopping and changing of policy" and to "keep long-term options open".
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UK Green Building Council, said: "The CCC's report highlights another worrying increase in emissions from buildings over the last year. Eight months after the Government's Clean Growth Strategy was published, the committee is also right to point to a lack of concrete policies to deliver the emissions reductions in buildings that the strategy promised. This must be urgently remedied.
"UKGBC is calling on the government to set out a pathway to make all new buildings genuinely net-zero carbon by 2030; to put in place effective incentives for home energy efficiency, particularly for able-to-pay homeowners, and to introduce incentives and mandatory operational energy ratings to drive business energy efficiency.
"The CCC highlights how clear goals and well-designed policies have delivered huge emissions reductions in the power sector. The government must now demonstrate equal determination to drive down emissions from buildings - the most cost-effective way of tackling climate change. Clear and consistent policy will not just be good for the environment - it will spur much-needed investment and innovation in the construction and property industry."