“An important step forward”: Green economy reacts to UK’s Fifth Carbon Budget

Green businesses and industry groups have wholeheartedly welcomed the UK Government's adoption of ambitious recommendations for the Fifth Carbon Budget, claiming it shows signs of "much needed clarity" after the fallout from Brexit.

Earlier today, Ministers announced they will enact the Fifth Carbon Budget, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 57% from 1990 levels, during the period 2028 to 2032 – as recommended by the CCC.

— Fifth Carbon Budget – The full story —

Coming just days after the UK’s decision to leave the EU – which sparked widespread concern about the future green policy landscape – this decision has been applauded by the green business community for providing a clear and positive signal of the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

However, some sections of the green business sector continue to stress 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.

edie has rounded up all of the latest reaction to today’s Fifth Carbon Budget announcement below… 

Hugh McNeal, chief executive, RenewableUK

“This Government is global leader in tackling climate change. Today’s announcement is especially welcome given the uncertainty caused by last week’s referendum. It’s a clear signal that the UK will continue to show bold leadership on carbon reduction. This will allow investment to continue to flow into renewable energy projects throughout the UK”.  

Simon Bullock, senior climate campaigner, Friends of the Earth

“After the huge confusion following the Brexit vote, we welcome the certainty this decision gives. Investors will now know that the UK is a place where low carbon investment can flourish.

“The big challenge is to ensure stronger policies to meet this carbon budget. The Committee on Climate Change has repeatedly warned that we are not on track to meet our climate goals for the 2020s. Floods and droughts don’t care whether the UK is in the EU or not. We must get on with the urgent business of getting all the world’s economies off the coal, oil and gas which are putting all our futures at risk.”

Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group

“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. At a time when global investments in clean technologies are rapidly growing in countries such as China, India, the United States and South Africa, it’s important that the UK keeps growing its low carbon economy to remain competitive on the global stage.”

Richard Black, director, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit

 “The biggest energy issue facing the government now is lack of investor confidence. All investors want to see a smooth, predictable playing field in front of them, but over the last year they’ve been thrown one curve ball after another – and that’s making energy more expensive.

“Against the backdrop of the £1.7trn national debt, a likely Brexit penalty on fuel costs and the fact that many of our power stations are past their sell-by date, reducing the cost of building new kit is obviously a pragmatic thing for the government to do.

“Accepting the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations for the Fifth Carbon Budget will go some way to restoring investor confidence and so controlling costs. It won’t be enough on its own, but it’s a first step.”

John Sauven, director, Greenpeace

“The Government has kept its word to adopt this important target to limit the UK’s carbon emissions. This is music to our ears. It shows the Government’s ongoing commitment to the UK’s Climate Change Act and its ambition to remain a leader on climate action, following the historic Paris agreement. It’s vital this consensus remains cross-party in these uncertain times.

“But, it’s no good having numbers on spreadsheets without the delivery to match. The absence of clear Government plans and support for action on renewable energy, homes, cars, agriculture and planes shows how far the rhetoric of climate action has drifted from anything real. The only plan the government seems to have is expensive and dodgy nuclear power stations where the Committee now says the government need a plan B because they might not happen.”

Professor Joanna Haigh, co-director, Grantham Institute, Imperial College London

“Over the last year we’ve seen unmistakable physical signs of climate change in many parts of the world, including the rapid acceleration in global temperature rise and increasing risk of floods such as those which inundated Cumbria last winter. And we’ve also seen governments secure, in Paris, a ground-breaking global agreement to curb emissions.

“The key to meeting these challenges is national action. And as the Committee’s report makes clear, while the UK continues to be a leader in rhetoric, the reality is very different.”

Jonathan Selwyn, chairman, Solar Trade Association (STA)

“The STA very much welcomes the strong support expressed for solar by the Committee on Climate Change and by the Minister in her evidence to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee yesterday.

“However, in our meeting this week with Minister Andrea Leadsom we urged her Department to take specific actions to address the significant slow-down in the industry following the recent changes to the solar support framework. We believe that a number of relatively minor changes could help stimulate the market.”

Martin Baxter, chief policy advisor, Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA)

“Achieving the 2030 target will require concerted action and investment. The recent referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU makes the job harder but not impossible. The true test of climate leadership is about sustaining the implementation of policies to achieve long-term climate goals. 

“This decision on the Fifth Carbon Budget provides the basis for giving confidence for investment, innovation, progressive transformation and effective action over the long-term.  It must also be reinforced with a clear, post-Brexit, confirmation of the UK’s international commitments and UK ratification of the Paris climate agreement”.

George Ogleby

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