The cross parliamentary committee on energy and climate change are recommending that the government accepts the fifth carbon budget. The budget has been put forward by its climate change advisers; the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the statutory body set up under the Climate Change Act, but must be approved by parliament before it can enter into force. This is to cover the period from 2028-2032 following the endorsement of the Paris emissions reduction agreement in April.
The fifth budget will represent a cut in emissions of around 57% compared to the UK’s 1990 baseline. The CCC is also calling for a specific power sector ‘carbon intensity’ target of 100g CO2/kWh by 2030. Emissions from international shipping are to be included with the Government working with international partners on an agreement to reduce aviation emissions.
The proposed fifth carbon budget must be fixed legislatively by the 30th June 2016. If the Government wishes to set the budget at a different level, the Secretary of State must publish a statement setting out the reasons for such a decision.
“The UK can’t afford any further delays when it comes to replacing dirty power stations with cleaner forms of generation,” said Angus MacNeil, the chair of the energy and climate change select committee. “Investors need certainty and setting a decarbonisation target for the energy sector would signal the government’s commitment to phasing out fossil fuels.“
Under the Climate Change Act the UK is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. The UK does this by setting budget caps on its emissions in five year periods between 2008 and 2050. The budgets have become one of the key drivers influencing energy policy in the UK, particularly the move toward low carbon electricity generation and higher fuel efficiency coupled with electric vehicle development in the transport sector.