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E3G response to CCC letter on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the fifth carbon budget

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The Committee on Climate Change has today published its advice to the UK government on the impact of the Paris Agreement on the fifth carbon budget.

Nick Mabey, Chief Executive of climate change think tank E3G, responding to the letter, warned that:

The Government must now accept the 5th carbon budget to reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change. But it must act boldly to restore investor confidence in the low carbon energy transition.

As a first step is should reverse its decision to remove funding for carbon capture and storage and make energy efficiency an infrastructure priority. Without decisive action UK energy security will be damaged and it will cost consumers far more.

It is also clear that the UK may need to revise up its carbon cutting targets in the future to meet the ambition set out in the Paris Agreement.

CCC Letter – Background Info:

  • The CCC recommended a 5th carbon budget equivalent to 57% GHG cuts below 1990 levels by 2030. The Government needs to fix the 5th CB in legislation by the end of June. Key points by way of summary raised in the letter include:
  • While not recommending an increase in UK ambition (at this stage), the CCC recommends further effort to increase EU ambition, including tightening of the ETS.
  • The CCC makes recommendations to urgently develop a new approach to CCS, following the surprise scrapping of the CCS demonstration projects. The CCC says that not having CCS may double the cost of cutting emissions by 80% 2050 as it removes an option for power decarbonisation, will require full decarbonisation of heat and transport (to make up for higher manufacturing emissions), and removes options for heat decarbonisation.
  • The CCC also continues to push the Government to increase the large shortfall in its building efficiency policies; to push for stretching EU vehicle emission standards; to back low carbon power generation to get to below 100g/kWh CO2 by 2030; and for infrastructure to be built in line with the expectation that emissions will be need to be heading to zero beyond 2050.

Notes:

  1. The entire direction of UK energy policy has been turned on its head. The Government is focused on creating a secure market opportunity for new gas-fired power plant and promoting a new fleet of nuclear power plant at the expense of lowest cost decarbonisation and energy security. See E3G comment on what is happening with UK energy policy.
  2. Investors need evidence that UK energy policy is sustainable. Tuesday’s CBI letter showed that investors will not make major infrastructure investments on the basis that decarbonisation might not matter in 10 years.
  3. To secure a meaningful share of global infrastructure investment the Government must support the 5th Carbon Budget recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change. Stronger policies are required to meet our Paris commitment. These include support for: energy efficiency, low carbon heating, smart grids, clean vehicles and interconnection. See E3G briefing on what Paris means for the UK.
  4. E3G is an independent climate diplomacy and energy policy think tank.

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