Reducing UK Emissions
Committee on Climate Change
10 July 2019
The Committee on Climate Change has just released its report "Reducing UK Emissions" which gives a clear endorsement to the use of heat pumps for low-carbon heating.
GSHPA welcomes the Reducing UK Emissions report and the key recommendation that the UK Government now needs to take actions to implement policies that will lead to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Following the adoption of a net zero target by 2050 on the Committee's recommendations and this subsequently being legislated in Parliament, this report summarises what the Government are currently doing and the impacts it has had. The report identifies a strong message that, despite some important foundations, progress is insufficient even for previous targets, and a major ramp-up is now needed for the net-zero target.
- The Treasury showed leadership in announcing an end to gas heating in new homes during the 2019 Spring Statement, but must go further as public spending and taxation will be fundamental to a net zero transition.
- Although there has been progress as BEIS, the department has been too slow in developing carbon capture and storage and the holding back of onshore wind development cannot continue. Similarly, BEIS have not yet begun large-scale trials for heat pumps or low-carbon hydrogen and there is a lack of development to build a skilled work force dedicated to this transition.
- DFT and MHCLG need to lead these efforts and are not yet doing enough.
- 2040 'Road to Zero' phase out of petrol and diesel cars is too late and plans to deliver it are too vague - a 2030 target is essential.
- MHCLG does not have policies in place to deliver the Government's ambitions on energy efficiency (e.g. improve all homes to EPC band C).
- Defra have not done enough on agriculture, land use or waste. No changes have been made to the voluntary approach to agriculture emissions and emissions are continuing to rise in this area. Similarly, tree planting targets have not been met in any year since its introduction in 2013.
The Committee has called for the Government to:
- Embed net-zero policy across all levels and departments of government, with strong leadership and coordination at the centre.
- Make policy business-friendly. Policy should provide a clear and stable direction and a simple investable set of rules and incentives that leave room for businesses to innovate and find the most effective means of switching to low-carbon solutions.
- Put people at the heart of policy design as individual changes will have to be made. The CCC welcomes Citizens' Assemblies being convened by a group of Parliamentary Select Committees to discuss the pathways to net-zero emissions and the involvement of the Youth Steering Group announced alongside the net-zero target.
- Support international increases in ambition and celebrate the UK ambition. The UK should use its new net-zero target and potential position as host of COP26 to help encourage increased effort elsewhere, including adoption of similar targets by other developed countries in the EU and beyond.