The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has released its much-anticipated 2020 Progress Report, which includes recommendations for what needs to happen urgently if the UK is to reach its 2050 net zero target.
According to the report, recovery from the current COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to drive forward the country’s green agenda and could become a defining moment in the fight against climate change.
CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, comments: “The UK is facing its biggest economic shock for a generation. Meanwhile, the global crisis of climate change is accelerating. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address these urgent challenges together; it’s there for the taking.
“The steps that the UK takes to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic can accelerate the transition to a successful and low-carbon economy and improve our climate resilience. Choices that lock in emissions or climate risks are unacceptable.”
Swift action is essential, however, with Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, adding: “The UK’s domestic ambition can be the basis for strong international climate leadership, but the delivery of effective new policies must accelerate dramatically if we’re to seize this chance.”
The report highlights some clear priorities, including opportunities to support the transition and recovery through investment in the UK’s workforce, and in lower-carbon behaviours and innovation.
Key recommendations include:
• Low-carbon retrofits to create buildings that are fit for the future
• Low-carbon heating as the dominant form of new heating installation by the early-2030s
• Investment in low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure.
• Support for reskilling, retraining and research for a net-zero, climate-resilient economy
• Bringing forward the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles to 2032
• Action to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely
• Tree planting, peatland restoration, green spaces and other green infrastructure
Commenting on the report, Mark Futyan, Anesco CEO, said:
“As an organisation that is committed to supporting the UK’s transition to net zero, we welcome the recommendations made by the CCC.
“One area that has rightly been highlighted by the commission is the need to tackle the energy efficiency of existing domestic properties, along with making all new homes low carbon.
“As the largest provider of ECO measures in the UK, we’ve been deeply involved in improving some of the country’s least efficient homes; helping reduce emissions but also raising many vulnerable households out of fuel poverty in the process.
“The scheme has been very successful in contributing to the renovation of housing stock. Its expansion beyond the narrow focus of properties currently targeted, would be one way to make a bigger impact – and fast.”
Mark added: “Overall, if we are to achieve net zero, then we are going to need policy to continue to drive a reduction in power generation carbon emissions.
“Some positive steps have already been taken. Power sector plans are advancing in line with the large scale required for the net-zero target. Contracts for a further six offshore wind farms were awarded at record low prices in the last year and an ambition for 2030 was increased from 30 GW to 40 GW. The Government has also announced plans to reintroduce large-scale solar and onshore wind to the Contract for Difference scheme.
“While there is a lot of work still to be done, it’s great to see momentum is building and we should look to expand on those areas that have been working well, as well as recognising where other opportunities may lie.”