The climate change minister has expressed total confidence that the UK can achieve its 2032 carbon emissions targets, even though her own’s department’s clean growth strategy says that it will be missed.
Claire Perry, minister of state for climate change, told the (BEIS) business, energy and industrial strategy select committee today that she was “100 per cent” confident that the UK would meet its 2032 5th carbon budget target to reduce emissions by 57 per cent compared to 1990 levels.
She told the committee, which was conducting a one-off session on the clean growth strategy that on the basis of existing policies the UK would achieve 93 per cent of the carbon savings needed to meet this target.
She said: “We are 93 per cent to getting toward our fifth carbon budget, based on 2015 emissions, and we will be shortly bringing forward the 2016 emission numbers which will tell an even more positive story.”
Perry added that she was also “confident” that the UK would not need to use the flexibilities, under which earlier over performance on carbon savings can be saved up and used later, in order to meet its longer-term targets.
“My confident prediction is that we wont use those,” said Perry.
She said that other measures not yet factored into the government’s calculations, such as changes to energy efficiency standards due to be implemented following the Hackett review of building regulations, would further reduce the UK’s carbon reductions.
But Perry said that she would be “disappointed” if the UK had to resort to such flexibilities to meet its future carbon budget targets, although she recognised it may be a “pragmatic” move.
“Given the level of progress that we have made, I would be personally disappointed if we had to use them but if the cost was sticking up costs for vulnerable energy customers it would be worth it.”
But she said it would be “pretty irresponsible” to deploy technologies that were not cost effective and would require heavy subsidies from households either in the form of bill levies or taxes.
And Perry defended the decision in the Budget to award no new subsidies in the form of low carbon levies
“As we are getting to a subsidy free world for mainstream renewable technologies with my fiduciary responsibility for taxpayers money, it seems that it’s entirely consistent to stick to the £557m commitment.”
Tim Lord, director for clean growth at BEIS said that the absence of new levies did not rule future support for more cutting edge and expensive renewable technologies like geo-thermal, tidal and wave power. He said that decisions had not been made on the allocation of the £557m earmarked for the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction.
But BEIS select committee chair, Rachel Reeves said that the CGS showed that the UK was not on track to meet its 2032 climate change target.
“The clean growth strategy doesn’t get us there,” added Reeves. “93 per cent is good, but we are not there yet.”