UK government progressives save fourth carbon budget


Today, the UK government announced that its fourth carbon budget will remain unchanged, despite intense pressure to weaken the measures. The announcement comes as “welcomed news” to NGOs, business groups and the renewables sector, who say it brings “an end to months of uncertainty” and “offers investor confidence… into funding the transition to a low carbon economy”. The move is also seen as a win for Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, who fought to preserve the existing targets is the face of a long political battle to dilute them. In retaining its commitments, it appears the UK government has listened to the calls from leading businesses and its own advisors – the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – suggesting that strong policies will boost investment and limit climate risk, as it takes another step towards the government’s long term goal of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.

By sticking to the current binding goal of slashing emissions by 50% across 2023-2027 against 1990 levels, the UK retains the most ambitious target in the developed world. Green groups, from both the UK and around the world, are now calling on the government to continue to back strong climate action on the international front, by “providing global leadership” and “building confidence among developing countries” when Heads of State meet in New York this December for the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit. In the UK, groups now are calling for “tough policies…to meet these targets”. A recent progress report from the CCC warned that failing to implement additional policies to ensure emission reductions could mean the government falls short of the targets it has worked to hard to retain. As the UK heads into an Parliamentary Election in 2015, the message is clear: “all parties must make this a priority in their manifestos”.


RT ‏@guyshrubsole Confirmed: the government will NOT be weakening 4th carbon budget. A victory for common sense.





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  • “With climate change increasingly on the global agenda keeping our commitments on carbon emissions is a very welcome step.  This is just the kind of climate leadership Britain needs to be showing on the world stage. We look forward to the Prime Minister joining the US and Chinese Presidents in providing global leadership at the UN climate summit in New York in September. The meeting, hosted by UN General Secretary Ban-ki Moon, will lay the ground-work for a global climate change deal next year. The UK’s  Climate Change Act, which has cross party support, shows just what can be achieved when parties work together which is the kind of positive collaboration we need to see in the lead up to next year’s General Election.” – Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Adviser
  • “It is good to know that the UK Government is keeping to its commitment of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 per cent by 2050 to 1990 levels and with this announcement, it seems that they are sticking to their milestone of achieving a 50 per cent reduction in emissions to 1990 levels  by 2025. We do hope that they are able to achieve this target and even exceed it.  This would build confidence among developing countries that, economic growth can be achieved even without an increase in emissions.” – Srinivas Krishnaswamy, CEO The Vasudha Foundation in India
  • “The Government has made the right decision by committing to continue the UK’s move towards a low-carbon economy well into the 2020s. This degree of clarity is essential to ensure we can build a secure and low-carbon energy system in an affordable way. It should also spur significant economic growth across new industries where the UK is currently leading the global race. Looking ahead, we need the next Government – of whatever political complexion – to ensure policies are in place to attract the significant investment in low-carbon infrastructure needed in the coming decade to meet the emission cuts set out in the budget. All parties must make this a priority in their General Election manifestos.” – David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK
  • “The Government’s announcements today represent a strong green light for investment in low-carbon homes and buildings, bringing to an end months of uncertainty on some of the most important policies affecting energy efficiency.” – Paul King, Chief Executive of UK-Green Building Council
  • “After a year of horrendous flooding and storms both here and abroad, the Government’s decision to reject calls to weaken UK climate targets is welcome news. This move will help reduce the uncertainty over the Coalition’s commitment to cutting carbon, which has driven away business investment and undermined confidence in the green economy. David Cameron must now ensure tough policies are in place to meet these targets, such as helping people to insulate their homes, and developing the UK’s vast renewable energy potential.” – Friends of the Earth Climate Change Campaigner Simon Bullock
  • “The decision to keep the Fourth Carbon Budget in line with the CCC’s advice is very good news for the green economy and the pursuit of a sustainable future. This decision puts independent expertise and long-term thinking ahead of the possible lure of political point scoring. Across renewable power, heating and transport fuels, investors need certainty that when it comes to the low carbon economy, the Government is in it for the long-term.” – Renewable Energy Association Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska
  • “By sticking to its guns on carbon targets, the coalition government will help bring some much needed investor confidence, and more importantly capital, into funding the transition to a low carbon economy. Investors have consistently argued that all they need is long term, transparent and credible policy against which they can make investment decisions, and this is a step in the right direction. It also shows the UK’s continued political leadership in Europe and globally at this crucial time on the road to Paris in 2015. Although carbon targets are likely to impact some carbon intensive sectors, the advice of the CCC that there is unlikely to be any overall impact seems sound, and we can’t overlook the growth in UK jobs linked to low carbon goods and services that ambitious carbon reduction policies create.” – Jon Williams, partner, PwC sustainability and climate change
  • “George Osborne has done everything in his power to water down the UK’s keystone climate change policy, putting at risk vital investment in our energy system and our credibility in global climate negotiations. Ed Davey deserves praise for standing up to the Treasury’s wrecking efforts, and the Prime Minister credit for holding firm on this crucial commitment.” – Ruth Davies, UK political advisor at Greenpeace
  • “Today the government have removed some of the uncertainty facing businesses that want to invest in a growing low-carbon UK economy. However it is also essential that government follows through and ensures it has the policies in place and aligned to meet the Fourth Carbon Budget and that it the direction of travel remains clear to business going through to 2030 and beyond.” – Eliot Whittington of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

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  • MT ‏@planamikebarry Gd news, UK Gov won’t amend 4th carbon budget – gives biz long term confidence to invest
  • MT @GSmeeton Backing 4th carbon budget has strong support from across UK economy & society; great that Govt listened
  • MT ‏@bryworthington Great news 4th carbon budget unchanged. Never should have been in doubt. Now need 40% EU ghg goal & ETS reformed.