UK: Committee on Climate Change urges action from Government

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The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – an independent statutory body formed to advise the UK government on climate change issues, and monitor progress in reducing emissions across all sectors, published a new report to parliament this week.

The report, ‘Reducing UK emissions: 2018 Progress Report to Parliament’, points out that the UK is currently unlikely to meet its own targets laid out in two upcoming carbon budgets – (2023-2027 and 2028-2032).

The report calls on the Government to commit to long term policy goals, and provide detail on how it will meet stated goals in several areas. While it acknowledges good progress in the electricity sector – with 2017 emissions down 12% on the previous year and 65% on 1990 levels – the report calls on the government to launch further auctions for low carbon generation – noting that no further auctions are planned, despite evidence suggesting that costs for solar and wind projects could fall even lower than the GBP 62/MWh average seen in 2017.

The report advises that further auctions are needed beyond the Spring 2019 Contract-for-Difference auction, and that a long-term strategy is needed to bring costs even lower through investor confidence and the establishment of strong supply chains.

Another of the report’s recommendations is further support for flexible transmission systems: “to ensure these [flexibility options] are rewarded for the value they bring to the system,” states the report. “This will mitigate any risks to system security from increased levels of variable or inflexible generation.” This is something the Government has already committed to in its clean growth strategy.

Overall, the message to Government is to take action now to ensure the best deal for the public in the future. “Although the UK seeks to lead the world in tackling climate change, the fact is that we’re off track to meet our own emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s,” says CCC Chairman Lord Deben. “We now have to ensure that the Government learns from this experience and presents a programme to tackle emissions right across the economy, including in buildings, transport and agriculture.”