Industry responds to CCC’s Fourth Carbon Budget review

The majority of cross-sector businesses and organisations have backed the Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) review of the Fourth Carbon Budget, which concludes there is no basis to change the budget.

Following an initial assessment in November, the CCC today confirmed that there have been no changes to global science and policy that would justify a loosening of the UK’s fourth carbon budget, covering 2023-2027, which was set in June 2011.

The CCC’s conclusion has received strong support from UK industry, with the majority agreeing that keeping the current budget will insure against the increased costs and risks of climate-related damage and rising energy bills that would result from an alternative approach of reducing and delaying action.

Chairman of business alliance Aldersgate group Peter Young said: “The only reasonable course of action is for the Government to fully accept the recommendations, as the evidence clearly states that the core objectives remain unchanged for 2023-2027.

“This will provide businesses with vital confidence to invest now, delivering the optimum trajectory for decarbonising the economy and meeting the statutory targets set by the Climate Change Act,” he added.

The review finds that a strategy of reducing emissions through the 2020s could save more than £100bn, and the competitive risks of industry ‘off shoring’ in response to rising electricity prices are mitigated under current Government policies, which exempt electricity intensive companies from costs of power sector decarbonisation.

Young added: “If this budget review is endorsed without delay, it will underpin future growth from the low carbon sector which generated a trade surplus of £5.2bn last year. We wholeheartedly support the Committee’s conclusions and the opportunity this report provides to deliver the certainty essential for sustainable growth of the whole economy.”

Offering a construction industry perspective, the UK Green Building Council (UK GBC) responded to the review by calling for the Government to “stick to the targets it has set”.

UK GBC chief executive Paul King said: “Not only is this vital to ensure leadership on the international stage, but it’s essential to provide business with the confidence it needs to invest in a low carbon future. Nowhere is this more evident than the construction and property sector, which offers by far the most cost effective carbon cutting potential of any sector of the economy, yet has been plagued by Government constantly moving the goalposts on key policies”.

However, director of policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, Steve Radley, held a different standpoint, saying that industry as a whole will be “deeply concerned that the Committee on Climate Change is advising that the UK remains on a unilateral trajectory towards a 50% reduction in emissions”.

“With other EU members showing little appetite to match our ambitions, this will continue to push electricity prices above our competitors and risks pushing investment abroad,” said Radley.

“This move will do nothing to reduce EU or global emissions or strengthen our claims to global leadership. By signing up to cost increases that are out of line with our competition, the committee risks weakening our manufacturing base and undermining its policy of ‘leading by example’,” he added.

Radley called for the Government to demonstrate its understanding of the “competitiveness issues at stake” by undertaking a “hard-edged review” of the Committee’s evidence.

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie