In response to the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) report on meeting carbon budgets, published in July, the Government today underlined the actions it is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the progress towards meeting the fourth carbon budget.

At the time of release, the CCC’s report found that although the UK has met the first carbon budget and is “likely” to meet the second carbon budget, it is not on track to meet the third and fourth carbon budgets.

“Without a significant increase in the pace of emissions reduction, starting very soon, the costs and risks of moving to a low-carbon economy in the 2020s and beyond will be increased,” the report claims.

It also stressed that to meet its statutory commitments, the Government will need to develop and implement further policy measures over the next two years.

Responding to this, the Government today highlighted the £35bn invested by the private sector in new energy infrastructure since 2010 and the current reforms to the electricity market.

The Government said that this current level of investment is due to the policy framework that is “providing investors with certainty over funding levels for low-carbon generation through to 2021”.

It did, however, acknowledge the need to encourage the £110bn of investment necessary between now and 2020.

Looking to drive investor certainty further, the Government today published consultation details of how its reforms to the electricity market will be implemented.

It said these reforms will bring on new low-carbon forms of power generation through technologies such as renewables, new nuclear and gas, with all making a “major contribution” to meeting the UK’s carbon budgets.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey said: “We’ve already had record amounts of planned investment in the energy sector and today we have given further confidence to the industry of the support available from Government for new energy infrastructure out to 2021.

“Our latest projections show that we are on track to meet our first three carbon budgets, but we recognise the scale of the challenge that we face in delivering further emissions reductions and meeting the target of the fourth carbon budget,” he added.

Yesterday, a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) showed that the European Union is on track to meeting its 20% emissions reduction target by 2020, despite “mixed progress across the region”.

Almost all European countries with an individual GHG limitation or reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol (26 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) are on track towards achieving their respective targets. This compares favourably to assessments in previous years.

Leigh Stringer

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