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Blog Post 5 July 2022

The Climate Change Committee’s 2022 report: actions speak louder than words

Last week, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published its Reducing UK emissions: 2022 progress report.

But how much do you know about this important committee, what did it say, and why does its latest report matter?

What is the Climate Change Committee?

The CCC is an independent statutory body, established under the Climate Change Act 2008, that advises the UK Government on emissions targets.

Each year, it reports to the government on how well the UK performed over the previous 12 months on reducing its carbon emissions in line with our 2050 net zero targets. It also reports on how well we’re preparing for and adapting to the impact of climate change.

What did the CCC’s 2022 report say?

The report found that in 2021, carbon emissions rose by 4% compared to 2020. This was expected, as more of us got moving again, and the economy started to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the CCC’s experts, the right policies are now in place, especially with the creation of the UK’s Net Zero Strategy. Across our four nations, we’re making progress with electric vehicles, and there has been some growth in renewable electricity.

But, as the report outlines, the UK’s policies need to be actioned more quickly, and progress needs to become more widespread to avert the climate change catastrophe.

What does the UK need to do to address the climate emergency?

We think the report highlights three significant things the UK Government needs to urgently address.

1. Insulation in our homes and more advice for consumers

The CCC says that unless significant action is taken to address the high levels of carbon emissions from the UK’s housing stock, then our progress towards net zero will be derailed. This can largely be addressed with an introduction of a programme to improve insulation in people’s homes. It would be the quickest and most effective way to counter soaring energy prices. Yet the UK has some of the most poorly insulated homes in Europe and this is costing bill payers more and more money each year.

The government promised £9.2 billion to spend on energy efficiency measures in its 2019 manifesto and committed to new policies in its Heat and Buildings Strategy published last year – such as confirming the end date of new and replacement installations of gas boilers. However, we are still waiting for these to be introduced or delivered.

We’re pleased the CCC also highlighted the importance of an energy advice service. Introducing such a service could support and advise millions of people about energy efficiency and low carbon heating systems in their homes. We’re calling for a free, comprehensive, personalised advice service for householders in England, which draws on the learnings from other services in Scotland and Wales.

2. Lessons can be learned from the transport sector

The report highlights strong progress that has been made in the transport sector with electric vehicle (EV) uptake. The number of EVs on the road more than doubled between 2020 and 2021. This is beyond projections and shows that consumers are willing to adopt low carbon options when offered cost-effective, high-quality solutions that are supported by government policies.

However, the CCC warns this momentum could be jeopardised if the number of charge points doesn’t keep up with the rising demand of EVs. It recommends that the government continues supporting the widespread deployment of charging infrastructure, in line with delivering a minimum of 300,000 public charge points by 2030.

We also support the CCC’s view that the focus on transport should look beyond electric vehicles. It’s an opportunity to change how we think about all forms of transport, including walking and cycling, and we’d like to see the government do more to address this in the future.

3. The cost-of-living crisis must be a factor

Since the CCC delivered its 2021 progress report, the UK is now facing a cost-of-living crisis as well as a climate crisis. The committee’s latest report makes clear that the two should be addressed together.

The CCC urges the government to prioritise the measures that might achieve this. This includes removing levies from electricity bills to ensure running costs for heat pumps are lower than for boilers and providing more financial incentives to people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, We also support the CCC’s push for the government to roll out its planned energy advice service – announced in this year’s Energy Security Strategy – as a crucial way to support people to improve the efficiency of their homes.

Finally, the CCC also highlights the need for the government to address how the funding of net zero will impact households and public spending. We support its call for a just transition to net zero and for the government to make clear how the distribution of both costs and opportunities will be made fair for everyone in society.

The CCC’s report is a clear signal that despite the progress made so far, there is a long way to go before we hit net zero. The window to deliver real progress is short, and Energy Saving Trust will continue to work with the UK Government to ensure clear action turns pledges into practice.

Last updated: 5 July 2022