Today (Wednesday 9 December), the Climate Change Committee (CCC) released its Sixth Carbon Budget, which sets out a detailed path to achieve decarbonisation in the UK over the next three decades.
The 1,000-page report includes a detailed assessment of key milestones that must be met to ensure the UK achieves net zero, after the country became the first major economy to make net zero emissions law in 2019.
The CCC highlights an emissions reduction of 78% by 2035, compared to 1990 levels, which will require a ‘major investment programme’ across the UK from both public and private sectors.
Commenting on the report, Mike Thornton, Chief Executive, said: “We congratulate the Committee on the clarity, detail, and optimism of the report, and urge government to adopt the recommendation for a target of a 78% reduction in carbon emissions by 2035. This report provides a world-leading route map to address the climate emergency. By setting out a comprehensive and clear process to replace all fossil-fuel infrastructure within 30 years, it provides the scale of ambition we need policymakers to commit to in full.
“Everyone will have a role to play and we all stand to benefit. The vision outlined will mean a clean electricity grid within 15 years, reduced electricity costs, as well as all new cars and more than half of new heating systems being fossil-fuel free by the end of this decade. As part of this, it will be crucial to encourage people to change their habits and provide them with support and advice on more sustainable ways of living including travel and home energy efficiency.
“The report highlights home energy efficiency as a fundamental first step to a carbon free future. It includes the ground-breaking finding that the costs of upgrading our housing stock – to improve insulation and low carbon heating – will be more than outweighed by the lower energy bills by 2050. This is thus a compelling opportunity to take action in a way that is fair and benefits everyone.”
The Climate Change Committee highlights four steps that will be essential to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget:
- Take up of low carbon solutions
This includes the adoption of low carbon, electric cars and vans, as well boiler replacements in homes, as high carbon options are phased out, as well as a shift to using renewable electricity and hydrogen.
- Expansion of low carbon energy supplies
Production of electricity in the UK will be zero carbon by 2035, with reliance on offshore wind power to increase. This clean energy will be used in transport, heating and industry, which could see electricity demand treble by 2050.
- Reducing demand for carbon-intensive activities
The UK will need to waste fewer resources and reduce its reliance on carbon-intensive goods. Buildings will become more energy efficient, there will be fewer car miles travelled, and demand for flights will reduce.
- Land and greenhouse gas removals
Agriculture and farmland use are expected to change dramatically. New mixed woodland will remove carbon dioxide from the air to deliver wider environmental benefits, while more farmland will shift to produce energy crops.
Read the full Sixth Carbon Budget report from the Climate Change Committee.
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