The UK’s independent advisor to Government on addressing climate change, the Climate Change Committee, has today published its annual progress in reducing UK emissions in its 2023 report to Parliament.
The assessment covers all areas of the UK’s progress towards net zero, including in reducing carbon emissions from buildings, electricity supply, transport and industry.
The conclusion is that the CCC’s confidence in the UK meeting its net zero goals from 2030 onwards is “markedly less” than it was twelve months ago.
Commenting on the report, Mike Thornton, chief executive at Energy Saving Trust said:
“It’s disappointing that progress towards net zero is still falling very short, following the Climate Change Committee’s conclusion that the likelihood of meeting our net zero goals from 2030 is even lower than it was twelve months ago.
“We have seen a glimmer of hope in the electric vehicle market and in renewable capacity, but this is not enough. Despite continued warnings and the proposal of clear policy recommendations, not least in last year’s progress report, we must again ask why the UK Government isn’t acting with more urgency.
“When it comes to improving our housing stock to lower carbon emissions, little policy progress has been made to enable homes to reach EPC rating C in the next 12 years and the roll out of low carbon heat pumps is much too slow.
“External factors impacting the energy market over the past year have closely aligned key policy areas – energy security, affordability and decarbonisation. Yet the UK Government has missed opportunities to do more to support households and businesses in both the short and long-term, while driving decarbonisation and increasing energy security.
“Instead, as the CCC highlight, the UK Government continues to place focus in the wrong areas, – including expensive fossil fuels and undeveloped technologies, rather than cheaper, cleaner solutions that are ready now.
“It doesn’t have to be like this. New research for the CCC, carried out by our Energy Saving Trust experts and Green Alliance*, shows that there are important lessons to learn from policies introduced by jurisdictions around the world that have cut both carbon and costs.
“Crucially, these international case studies successfully address four key gaps in UK policy: supporting homeowners to act on energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation; encouraging behaviour change to effectively reduce energy demand; promoting business energy efficiency and increasing access to low carbon technologies for people on low incomes. Similar initiatives must be prioritised here.
“This must be a wakeup call – we now need to see rapid progress on energy security, energy efficiency and carbon reduction, both to address the current acute energy crisis and protect our planet for the future.”
*Referenced Box 2.2 page 58, Climate Change Committee, Progress in reducing UK emissions.