UK must approve carbon budget soon or risk investment, says Lord Deben
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has called for the Government to approve its fourth carbon budget in the New Year to avoid further investor uncertainty.
Ahead of the CCC's final recommendations on the review of the 2023 to 2027 carbon budget, committee chairman Lord Deben announced that there is no "legal or economic justification to change the budget".
The fourth carbon budget was designed to reflect the cost effective path to the 80% emissions reduction target by 2050 subject to the impacts being "manageable".
Agreeing the budget in 2011, the Government decided to review progress at the beginning of 2014 to see if it still aligned with the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme and would amend the budget if necessary.
However, in a letter to Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey, Deben wrote: "The assumptions regarding EU circumstances upon which the fourth carbon budget decision was made have not changed, and therefore there is no legal or economic justification to change the budget in this respect at this time.
"Rather, the budget remains cost-effective, with manageable costs and impacts, given our assessment of EU developments," he continues.
While environmental groups welcomed the CCC's call, manufacturers association EEF's head of climate & environment policy, Gareth Stace, expressed concern over whether the committee's recommendations were premature.
Stace said: "The CCC seems to have overlooked that the 2025 target, accepted by the Government and Parliament, came with a caveat that if our domestic commitments place us on a different emissions trajectory than the rest of the EU then we will align our own commitments. The rest of the EU has not followed our lead and we are still waiting on agreement of the EU 2030 climate package, which is uncertain and delayed.
"We would therefore question how the CCC can make an informed judgement now that the 2025 target will be in line with our EU and global competitors, when significant uncertainness remain. The government has made a commitment to ensuring that the climate change costs industry is facing are not out of line with the rest of Europe. It is vital that its response to the advice from the CCC delivers on this," he added.