Pressure has continued to build on the UK government and its pending decision on the fifth carbon budget after a survey of environment and sustainability professionals showed overwhelming support for adoption of the proposed budget.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) made its recommendations for the period covering 2028-2032 in November and has since gained support from both the Energy and Climate Change select committee and a host of Tory backbenchers.
The government is due to legislate for the budget – which includes scope for up to 40GW of solar by 2030 – by the end of June 2016 and is now facing calls from industry to follow the CCC’s advice of limiting annual emissions to an average 57% below 1990 levels.
The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) surveyed over 1,500 of its members in the week to 9 May and found that a huge majority (87.3%) believe the government should accept the CCC’s recommendations.
Martin Baxter, chief policy advisor for the IEMA, said: “The government’s independent climate advisors have recommended a carbon budget that is consistent with the UK meeting its national and international emissions reductions in the most cost effective way. Government urgently needs to adopt this recommendation to provide long-term certainty to business and investors.
“The true test of climate leadership is about sustaining the implementation of policies to achieve long-term climate goals. Government must remain resolute in its support for the UK achieving the 2050 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions.
“The fifth carbon budget provides the basis for giving confidence for investment, innovation, progressive transformation and effective action.”
The government’s decision over the budget will be the first legislative test of ambition since COP21 in Paris, which set in place a framework for limiting global warming to well below 2oC and to limit net global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the end of this century.
While the UK is currently on track to meet its obligations up to 2022, shortfalls are expected in the following carbon budget periods. A report released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in November 2015 showed that the government expected to miss its own carbon emissions targets by as much as 13%.
Actions taken by chancellor George Osborne in his most recent budget have also damaged the UK’s ability to meet its obligations, such as reductions in energy efficiency policy and funding for carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Speaking following the budget in November, Sepi Golzari-Munro, head of the UK programme for the climate policy think tank E3G, said these decisions made it “almost impossible to meet our carbon budgets”.