Government admits it must do more to meet emissions targets

The government has admitted it needs to do more to ensure the UK meets its emissions targets from the early 2020s onwards.

Responding to the Committee on Climate Change’s annual progress report published in June, it recognised that as things stand Britain is on course to breach the fourth carbon budget running between 2023 and 2027 by 10 per cent.

“We know we need to do more to meet our targets from the early 2020s,” it said. “We have always been clear that options would be developed in this parliament. This work is underway and will be set out in the emissions reduction plan.”

The recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) will be used as the basis for the plan. “We recognise the emissions reduction plan will form an important signal to the markets, businesses and investors,” it added. “We want to invest the time now to undertake critical preparatory work to ensure we get this right.”

The CCC has repeatedly emphasised the critical importance of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to meeting the targets, including in reports on the implications of the Paris agreement and the strategy for the decarbonisation of heating which were both published today.

The government said it will “carefully consider” the findings of a report on the technology by Lord Oxburgh, which was published in September, and will “set out a future approach to CCS in due course”. Nevertheless, it added that “the costs of CCS must come down if it is to play a part in the long-term decarbonisation of the UK’s economy”.

In January former energy secretary Amber Rudd pledged to release a new emissions reduction plan – or carbon plan, as it’s often called -  by the end of this year. However, comments made by business and energy minister Nick Hurd last month appeared to suggest it could be delayed until 2017. 

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