Claire Perry’s instruction that the upcoming review of the UK’s carbon emissions reduction framework should not cover pre-2032 targets was a “surprise” to the climate change watchdog, its chief executive has admitted.

The minister of state for energy and climate change wrote to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) yesterday requesting advice on how the UK could further cut emissions to meet its Paris agreement commitments.

This will include a review of the UK’s Climate Change Act target that emissions must be reduced to at least 80 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050.

However, Perry has said the committee’s work will not cover the upcoming fourth and fifth carbon budget periods, which set out the UK’s emissions reductions until 2032.

During a panel debate at the Energy UK annual conference this morning (16 October), Chris Stark, chief executive of the CCC, said: “The restriction to not look at the fourth and fifth carbon budgets was a surprise.”

But he expressed no concerns about the restriction.

“Aside from the restriction that the government has put on its request, it is obvious that the quicker you reduce emissions the less risk there is of temperature increases.

“We will let the analysis do the talking and do what we think is necessary and will draw conclusions on what policy measures are necessary to get to the target.”

Stark told the conference that the exercise would involve a total refresh of all the assumptions underpinning the emissions reduction framework enshrined in the 2008 Climate Change Act.

He said that past work carried out by the CCC in 2016 showed that reducing emissions to 92 per cent of 1990 levels was feasible by fully deploying all currently available technological solutions.

“It’s not easy to get where we need to get to but we must do it.”

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