1.7 UK Climate Change Act
The Climate Change Bill was published in March 2007 with the aim of creating a long-term legal framework for the UK's contribution to tackling climate change. The bill proposed a statutory goal of at least a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. The bill became law as the Climate Change Act on 26 November 2008 and has two main aims, repeated here verbatim:
to improve carbon management and help the transition towards a low carbon economy in the UK;
to demonstrate strong UK leadership internationally, signalling that we are committed to taking our share of responsibility for reducing global emissions in the context of developing negotiations on a post-2012 global agreement at Copenhagen next year.
The 2050 emissions reduction goal was increased to 80%, following strong scientific evidence and lobbying from green groups and the act's Impact Assessment was updated in March 2009 to reflect the act's final contents. The act also created the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), a new independent, expert body (chaired by Lord Turner) to advise Government on the level of carbon budgets and where cost-effective savings can be made. The CCC submits annual reports to Parliament on UK progress towards targets and budgets to which the Government must respond; in December 2008 it published the report ‘Building a low-carbon economy – the UK's contribution to tackling climate change’. Carbon budgets place legally binding ceilings on UK GHG emissions over 5-year periods. In its first report, the CCC advised on the level of the budgets for 2008–2012, 2013–2017 and 2018–2022, following the EU framework to produce two sets of budgets: the intended budget, which should apply following a global deal on climate change, and the less stringent interim budget, to apply before a global deal is reached. The intended budgets require an emissions reduction of 42% in 2020 relative to 1990 (31% relative to 2005). This translates to required emissions reductions of 175 MtCO2e (where Mt means megatonnes) in 2020. The interim budgets require an emissions reduction of 34% in 2020 relative to 1990 (21% relative to 2005). This translates to required emissions reductions of 110 MtCO2e in 2020.
Consider Lord Stern's statement, ‘There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we act now and act internationally’.
Since the publication of the Stern Review, to what extent do you feel this advice has been followed in the UK?
How effective do you feel the Office of Climate Change and CCC have been?