Amber Rudd, UK Energy and Climate Secretary, has recently announced the Government will set out the 5th Carbon Budget in line with recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change.
But what exactly is it, and what does it mean for energy efficiency? The BG Energy Solution team explains all…
What is it?
The Budget is a document that proposes a 57% reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by the early 2030s. It is, says, the Guardian, a world-leading carbon emissions reduction target.
The Budget is legally required by the UK Climate Change Act. There had been fears the recent Brexit would delay it, but it was adopted on June 30, 2016.
For many environmentalists, the Budget’s adoption is a key signal that the UK will maintain its pro sustainability legislation in spite of Brexit.
What does it mean?
It means there is now a legal restriction on the total amount of greenhouse gases the UK can emit by 2030. But new measures are necessary to actually hit the goals.
The Committee on Climate Change, which advised on the level of cuts needed, has previously written to ministers to warn that there are not yet the policies in place to meet the target.
It is likely to mean we will see more measures taken, both on businesses, homes and the UK’s energy infrastructure, to minimise CO2 emissions.
Why is it important?
Many reasons. It is aspirational and world leading in terms of climate change, but it is also legal, meaning there is more chance of actually making the improvements in the real world.
“The adoption of the fifth carbon budget is an important step forward. It shows that the UK wants to stay on track in meeting its long-term climate change targets in a way that’s cost effective and also signals an intent to increase investment in low carbon technologies,” Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group, told EDIE.
Is it affected by Brexit?
Not legally. The 5th Carbon Budget has been adopted just days after Brexit took place. This is, for many environmentalists, an encouraging sign. It hints that the Tory Government is not, for the moment at least, willing to allow Brexit to overturn crucial green legislation, or stop day to day Parliamentary business.
But, in reality, it may be some time before the actual measures aimed at meeting the legal Budget targets are decided. 2030 is some way off, and even though work should start immediately on the policy measures to hit Budget targets, Brexit may delay these.
What happens next?
EDIE writes that today’s announcement must be reinforced with clear and strong post-Brexit policy actions to further restore investor confidence and allow businesses to compete on a level playing field.
It is now up to Government to embed the policies that will deliver the carbon targets. When will these come? In today’s uncertain political landscape, it may be some time.
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