Three weeks ago, the UN’s IPCC set out the urgency of the challenge facing the world if runaway climate change is to be prevented.

That stark message doesn’t appear to have got past the door of 11 Downing Street, judging by Monday’s Budget.

Hopes quickened during Philip Hammond’s set-piece speech when he said: “We cannot secure our children’s future unless we secure our planet’s future.”

The IPCC recommended a rapid shift to a no-carbon economy. What we got from the chancellor instead is a tax on imported, non-recycled plastic packaging and £10 million to deal with abandoned waste.

Worthy causes both, but as a response to the challenge the chancellor had just outlined they felt small beer. And the rest of this week’s Budget was unusually light on detail on energy and climate change issues. What meat there was, including the latest halt in the level of fuel duty, could set back decarbonisation efforts.

A freeze was mooted too for the carbon price, which has played a key role in driving coal out of the generation mix, increasing the risk that this dirtiest form of fuel will linger longer than anticipated.

Many believe the Treasury has never really “got” environmental issues and that its bean counters see such concerns as second order compared to what they see as the more pressing issues of getting and spending. This week’s Budget will have just entrenched that view of Number 11’s priorities.

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