Government’s Committee on Climate Change: “Decade wasted in fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”

Not happy news, but you knew it already.

“A decade has been wasted in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because official policies have failed to deliver, according to a critical assessment from the government’s Committee on Climate Change.
In a report published today, it says much tougher regulation of businesses is urgently required if enduring cuts are to be made.

“Emissions did not go down [because of the climate policies] and that has to be the fundamental test,” said David Kennedy, chief executive of the committee. “[The policies] were not delivering.”

Although emissions fell last year, by 8.6 per cent compared with 2008, the reduction was largely due to the recession rather than ministerial actions, said the committee, set up under the Climate Change Act to advise the government.

Policy failures include subsidies for renewable energy, measures to force utilities to help customers save energy, tax breaks for electric cars and emissions trading.

“Light touch” regulation was not working, and the UK needed a “step change”, said Mr Kennedy. “We need to do something different if we want emissions to come down.”

That would mean much tougher regulation in sectors across the economy, from energy to agriculture, he said. “This is not going to happen from the bottom up. We need crunchy policies that provide strong incentives.””

Priority categories include sweeping reforms of the energy market, a floor price on carbon, an emissions performance standard (for power stations), insulating homes, electric car take-up, and reducing emissions from agriculture through tax on fertilisers and education for farmers to improve their animal husbandry.

“The government said it would consider the proposals.”


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