The UK has legislated for net-zero emissions by 2050 – now the UK Government must show it is serious about its legal obligations to tackle and prepare for climate change, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says today. UK action to curb greenhouse gas emissions is lagging far behind what is needed, even to meet previous, less stringent, emissions targets. Over the past year, the Government has delivered just 1 of 25 critical policies needed to get emissions reductions back on track, its new report shows.
Meanwhile, action to prepare our homes, businesses and natural environment for a warming world is less ambitious than it was ten years ago. Of 33 key sectors assessed by the Committee in a second, related report published today, none show good progress when it comes to managing climate change risk.
Lord Deben, CCC Chairman, said: “The UK is the first major economy to set a net-zero emissions target and intends to host the world’s leaders at next year’s landmark climate conference (COP26). These are historic steps forward and position the UK at the forefront of the global low-carbon transition. But international ambition does not deliver domestic action. It’s time for the Government to show it takes its responsibilities seriously. Reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, requires real action by Government now.”
Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, said: “The UK is not ready for the impacts of climate change, even at the minimum expected level of global warming. The Government is not yet addressing adequately all of the climate risks it has itself identified as critical – including from surface water flooding and the impacts of high temperatures on health. As the UK prepares to host next year’s global climate summit, the Government has a window to demonstrate its commitment to addressing these responsibilities. Citizens, homes, workplaces and critical infrastructure must be prepared for a future with unavoidable climate impacts. The effects of climate change are already being felt in the UK.”