The UK government’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) has published a report on progress towards meeting emissions reduction targets.
The CCC found that the UK has made “good progress”, but warns that decisions made in the next five years will have an enormous impact on whether the UK successfully adapts to and limits global warming.
“The most cost-effective approach to dealing with climate change requires steady progress over many years,” it said.
The report contains detailed recommendations on how the government should continue to tackle climate change in five key areas: Electricity, Transport, Infrastructure, Buildings, and Land and Water management.
One of the largest sections of the report is devoted to buildings, where the CCC tells the Government to extend the Renewable Heat Incentive to 2020, set out the future of the Energy Company Obligation beyond 2017 and develop a strategy for homes at high flood risk.
On transport, the CCC calls for continued subsidies for ultra low emissions vehicles, such as the plug-in car grant, and continued investment in recharging points and hydrogen refuelling stations.
The report also calls for urgent action in other areas of infrastructure to avoid ‘locking in’ high carbon pathways. Recommendations include the development of heat networks and CCS.
The sustainability industry has roundly welcomed the first report of the new parliament from the Climate Change Committee.
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “The Government has rightly identified the need to ensure that emissions are reduced as cost-effectively as possible. No sector provides a better opportunity to do this than buildings, in which energy efficiency can stimulate economic activity, lower bills and strengthen our energy security.
“Yet the Committee has issued a clear warning – progress on improving our buildings is currently falling short. The Government must follow its advice and agree an action plan for energy efficiency which results in homes that are cheaper to heat and that are shielded from the worst effects of climate change.