Releasing its 2023 progress report on reducing emissions, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) on Wednesday called on the UK government to commit to bolder delivery on its net zero plans.
The government’s climate advisory said that policy development continues to be too slow and that its confidence in the UK meeting its medium-term targets has decreased in the past year, despite increased transparency on the plans for net zero following a court ruling.
Committee chairman Lord Deben criticised the government for being too slow to embrace cleaner, cheaper alternatives, and too eager to support new production of fossil fuels even in times of extraordinary fossil fuel prices.
“I urge the government to regroup on Net Zero and commit to bolder delivery. This is a period when pace must be prioritised over perfection,” he said.
According to the report, the UK has lost its clear global climate leadership and the government must act urgently to reclaim it.
While renewable electricity capacity increased in 2022, the growth was slower than needed to meet the government’s targets, particularly for solar. An opportunity was missed for more rapid deployment of onshore wind and solar, the CCC says. It sees a need for rapid reform to planning to support net zero.
According to the report, to achieve the UK commitment to a 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, the rate of emissions reduction outside the power sector must almost quadruple. At the same time, support is lacking for decarbonised industry.
Commenting on the report, Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA (Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology), said: “We agree with the CCC’s criticism of Government in the recent months of prioritising new fossil fuel exploration, while other advanced countries are providing renewed fiscal support and legislation to advance the energy transition, such as the EU Green Deal Package and the US Inflation Reduction Act.
“It is clear that government should now use the upcoming Autumn Statement to respond to this report by delivering real polices designed to deliver against the government’s own power, heat, transport and circular economy targets.”