Advice to the government on the level of the Sixth Carbon Budget will be delayed until December due to COVID-19.
It was previously due in September, but the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) announced today (14 April) that it will amend its 2020 work programme, including delaying the publication of its next set of advice.
This will allow it to include the impact of the coronavirus on its assessment of the UK’s progress in reducing emissions, whilst the publication remains within the statutory timetable.
Additionally, the CCC will refocus its annual Progress Report to Parliament in June to include how to resiliently recover following the pandemic.
This recovery must include efforts to support a just transition towards Net Zero and prepare the country for climate change. The committee is expected to send a letter to ministers in the coming weeks with advice on how to ensure this.
The CCC’s chief executive, Chris Stark, said that the “immediate priority for everyone” was how to respond to the pandemic.
However, Stark added: “Eventually, thoughts will turn to the need to rebuild after coronavirus – the climate priorities can help shape these efforts. The Committee will offer advice to government on constructing a resilient recovery. Coronavirus is teaching us all the value of prudent planning for global shocks.”
Other CCC publication dates remain unchanged, including the third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment evidence report. It is set for publication in summer 2021, although this will be kept under review.
Similarly, preparations for COP26, which is now set to take place in Glasgow in 2021, will continue. The climate conference was previously set for November this year, but in April the UN Representatives of the COP Bureau of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), with the UK and its Italian partners made the decision to postpone the event.
They decided that given the COVID-19 pandemic, it was no longer possible to hold “an ambitious, inclusive COP26”. The energy sector welcomed the decision, with RenewableUK’s head of policy and regulation Rebecca Williams calling it “disappointing” but the “right decision”.
In an effort to continue preparation for the conference, the CCC announced that Pete Betts is to offer his expertise on international work to the Committee. He has previously been the government’s chief climate negotiator and was Lead Negotiator for the EU for six years, including at the Paris COP in 2015.
Stark said: “I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Pete Betts to our team. His insight will be invaluable to the Committee in the run-up to the most important summit on climate change since the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015.”