Climate Change Committee report: Industry reacts
The sustainability industry has roundly welcomed the first report of the new parliament from the Climate Change Committee.
The report, released today, contained detailed recommendations for how the Government should continue to tackle climate change in five key areas: Electricity, Transport, Infrastructure, Buildings, and Land and Water management.
edie has rounded up the key responses from industry professionals, detailing their thoughts on the report’s advice, and how the Government should best implement it.
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “The Government has rightly identified the need to ensure that emissions are reduced as cost-effectively as possible. No sector provides a better opportunity to do this than buildings, in which energy efficiency can stimulate economic activity, lower bills and strengthen our energy security.
“Yet the Committee has issued a clear warning – progress on improving our buildings is currently falling short. The Government must follow its advice and agree an action plan for energy efficiency which results in homes that are cheaper to heat and that are shielded from the worst effects of climate change.
UK as a world leader
Former Shell Chairman and current board member of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool, said that the government needs to bring forward decarbonisation policies quickly if it is to retain its moral authority on climate change in Paris.
Lord Oxburgh said: “As this report makes clear, the government has no room for complacency if it wants to deliver effective decarbonisation at low cost.
“The Prime Minister has promised leadership in talks on a new UN climate agreement, but leadership comes from what you do, not what you say.
“Ministers need to come forward very soon with coherent policies on energy efficiency, low-carbon transport, renewable heat and renewable electricity, otherwise the UK will fall behind other nations and lose its moral authority on the international stage.”
The value of policy certainty
Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Uncertainty about future funding could see projects being delayed and have a particularly damaging impact on supply chains and continued cost reductions.
“The offshore wind sector provides a good example of the benefits produced by a clear policy framework. The cost of energy from UK offshore wind farms has fallen by almost 11% in the past four years, with the UK the world leader in this sector.
However, offshore projects can take up to ten years to build, so the industry is already looking to the mid-2020s for some clarity about expected levels of deployment.”
Impact on farmers
Guy Smith, vice-president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), urged the government to take the wider impacts on the rural economy in mind when setting renewable energy policy.
He said: “The Committee’s view on renewable energy is pretty clear – we need stable policies to incentivise land-based clean technologies such as wind, solar and biogas, otherwise Britain will not achieve its future climate change targets,” he said.
“We respect the government’s mandate to constrain onshore wind power, but we are concerned that perhaps inadvertently this will catch out every single farm turbine, no matter what the scale or setting.
“Small-scale renewables don’t just produce energy, they’re an essential way for Britain’s farmers to earn a reliable income in a time of volatile food prices, and so keep farming and the wider rural economy afloat. If they have countryside interests at heart, ministers need to value those wider benefits
Impact on manufacturers
Paul Raynes, director of policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “Industry will welcome the recognition of the current gap in government policy to deliver emissions reductions during the 2020s as well as the competitive risks posted by climate change policy for energy intensive sectors.
"It is particularly promising to see recommendations for government to establish sector specific decarbonisation action plans and greater support for vital technologies such as industrial carbon capture and storage, both measures EEF has long called for."
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) director general, Nick Baveystock, said: “Climate change is a long-term challenge which demands long-term thinking. The Committee is absolutely right to stress the need for policy-makers to think beyond 2020 - creating a certain environment for investors and demonstrating the UK’s commitment to tackling this.
“Fears around the resilience of our infrastructure networks in the face more frequent extreme weather, also echo our own concerns. There is a growing need for a more comprehensive approach to UK resilience, one that better reflects interdependencies - or the “domino effect” where the failure of one system such as a flood defence affects the operation of the other networks.
“We would like to see Government put resilience at the heart of its plans, and the upcoming Budget presents an opportunity.”