Business leaders and sustainability professionals have unanimously welcomed this morning’s confirmation that the government has set the fifth carbon budget at the recommended level.
Today energy secretary Amber Rudd laid a draft order before parliament setting the carbon budget for the 2028-2032 period at 1,725MtCO2e; the level recommended by the Committee on Climate Change in February.
That figure is representative of a 57% cut in emissions compared to a 1990 base level.
Today was the final day in which the government could respond to the budget recommendation to meet a statutory deadline, and Rudd teased her department’s response yesterday morning during a speech tackling the Brexit referendum’s impact on climate targets.
A statement issued by Rudd this morning explicitly mentioned the importance of a clean, reliable energy infrastructure for businesses to benefit from.
“Setting long term targets to reduce our emissions is a fundamental part of building a secure, affordable and clean energy infrastructure system that our families and businesses can rely on and that is fit for the 21st century.
“The UK remains committed to playing its part in tackling climate change to ensure our long-term economy security and prosperity,” she said.
Announcement of the setting was welcomed by various business leaders and notable sustainable professionals on social media.
IEMA’s Martin Baxter followed his tweet with a statement arguing that the country’s future prosperity was “increasingly dependent” on addressing long-term sustainability challenges, particularly in the wake of last week’s Brexit referendum.
“Achieving the 2030 target will require concerted action and investment. The recent referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU makes the job harder but not impossible. The true test of climate leadership is about sustaining the implementation of policies to achieve long-term climate goals. This decision on the fifth carbon budget provides the basis for giving confidence for investment, innovation, progressive transformation and effective action over the long-term. It must also be reinforced with a clear, post-Brexit, confirmation of the UK’s international commitments and UK ratification of the Paris climate agreement,” he said.
Meanwhile a spokesman for npower Business Solutions said: “We welcome the publication of the 5th Carbon Budget Order as it provides some clarity on government’s continued commitment to meeting the UK’s climate change targets. It is vital that businesses receive all the support they need from government and industry to ensure the implications of today’s decision are made clear and enable them to make the necessary changes to their operations as we work towards a greener UK.”
Juliet Davenport, chief executive of clean energy utility Good Energy, led the calls for greater policy certainty, stating: “Things have to change and we need a clear policy framework to ensure that more people and businesses are able to choose renewable energy. The move to a 100% renewable future is happening. This carbon budget should give a clear signal that renewables are back, and are still an attractive investment.”
The next step for the government in planning to meet the fifth carbon budget recommendation is a tranche of policy proposals expected to be laid out as part of a wider carbon plan, to be published later this year.