CCC pushes Boris Johnson to bolster UK’s 2030 climate target ahead of COP26

The CCC will publish its sixth carbon budget this month

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister and to Alok Sharma at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) today (3 December), the Committee outlined its recommendations for the UK’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. Although the conference is delayed, Johnson has urged nations to submit NDCs by the end of the calendar year, and is under increasing pressure for the UK to lead by example.

The Committee is recommending that the UK commits to reducing emissions by 68% by 2030, against a 1990 baseline, as a minimum requirement. Any lower commitment could risk misalignment with net-zero by 2050.

No carbon offsetting should be required – or used – to meet the 2030 goal, the Committee states. Moreover, the UK will need to develop supporting policies for high-emitting sectors. While the Committee has welcomed recent funding packages and policy changes around sectors like electric vehicles, it is warning that far greater support is needed to decarbonise international aviation and shipping – and that emissions from these sectors need to be properly accounted for.

The Committee is also calling for the UK Government to do more to mobilise climate finance at home and internationally – despite the Treasury’s decision to cut international aid funding from 0.7% of the budget to 0.5%, breaking the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment for the 2019 general election. Additionally, it believes the UK must do more to focus on adaptation in tandem with mitigation.

Committee chief executive Chris Stark said the 2030 targets proposed by the organisations “would be serious… among the most ambitious of any country.”

“New net-zero targets from China, South Korea, Japan – and (soon) the US are fantastic; but they are mid-century goals,” Stark Tweeted. “We need short-term ambition too. Cumulative emissions are what matter.”

The CCC is expected to publish its sixth carbon budget advice next week. The carbon budget will be the last leading up to 2050.

Under pressure

The UK is already on course to exceed its fifth carbon budget and the CCC had warned that more action was needed to meet the original Climate Change Act targets – let alone the updated, more ambitious net-zero aim. 

Businesses have been pressuring Johnson to ask for the updated UK NDC to be ambitious – and for it to be released sooner rather than later.

Earlier this week, the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) sent a letter to Johnson calling for the government to embed the NDC in policy once it is developed and to ensure that it is supported by “solid plans” for climate adaptation and a socially just transition.

Members of the CLG include Unilever, Sky, Tesco, EDF Energy, E.ON, Coca-Cola Great Britain, Engie, Centrica, ScottishPower and BT.

Sarah George

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