According to the Observer newspaper yesterday and subsequent reports this morning, the UK government has agreed to abide by the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change for its fourth carbon budget, which takes us through to 2027.
The independent Committee was set up by the Climate Change legislation, which requires Parliament to set carbon budgets for the maximum emissions in a series of five year periods through to 2050. The Committee on Climate Change is required to recommend the level of these budgets, and a proposal must then be put before Parliament.
In its first report - Building a Low Carbon Economy – published in December 2008, the Committee proposed the first three budgets through to 2022, on the road to achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050.
The latest proposal, for the 2022-2027 time frame, were published last December and aimed to effectively achieve a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030, based on 1990 levels. It’s the recommendations in this report – available here – that the government has now agreed to.
It seems that after some disagreement about the cost and impact on the economy of the proposals, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is expected to confirm agreement in Parliament tomorrow. If so, the UK will apparently be the first country to have a legally binding carbon emissions reduction target past 2020.
Hopefully, confirming the budget will provide increased confidence in green investment in the UK. There’s going to have to be a lot of it. Just taking one example, the report says that to achieve the necessary 44% reduction in surface transport emissions, 60% of new cars could be electric in 2030. It also anticipates a 5% reduction in car trips through smarter travel choices. It’s clear that green ICT has a significant part to play in achieving these targets.