This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
| 1 minute read

UK: Government’s climate advisor warns that UK is at major risk of missing its net zero goals

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – the UK government’s independent climate change advisor – has published a report warning that there is “scant evidence” of delivery against the government’s climate change targets: 

There are some bright spots of progress but in most areas the likelihood of under-delivery is high...[we] welcome the government’s restated commitment to net zero but holes must be plugged in its strategy urgently. The window to deliver real progress is short.

The CCC notes progress on the deployment of renewable electricity (with emissions from electricity generation having fallen by nearly 70% in the last decade) and in higher adoption of electric cars than expected. 

However, it says government policy on energy efficiency in homes and agriculture and land use are still in their “infancy”. The CCC found that, given soaring energy bills, there is a “shocking gap” in policy for delivering better insulated homes and calls on the government to publish the Futures Homes Strategy as a matter of urgency. The CCC has also found that policy on reducing farming emissions has been “glacial”, with the recent Food Strategy doing little to address the issues, urging the government to tackle the issues in the new land use framework that is scheduled for 2023. 

The CCC warns that the current strategy will not deliver on the UK’s net zero target and that the risks cannot be managed by overreliance on greenhouse gas removal technologies (such as CCUS). It therefore recommends that the government develop contingency plans and a public engagement strategy (e.g. by encouraging reduced consumer demand for high-carbon activities, for example through healthier diets and curbs to growth in demand for flights). 

The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) has warned that the UK’s failure to deliver on its net zero targets makes it harder for investors to take advantage of green investments in the country and is urging the government to translate ambitions into firm regulation and standards, with the UK’s forthcoming Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR) regime as a key driver (see here). 

The CCC report comes just months ahead of COP27 in November when global leaders will meet again for the next big climate summit. The UK’s reputation as a world leader on climate change risks being seriously damaged unless the government can show it is capable of delivering on its ambitious climate targets.

Policies are now in place for most sectors of the economy, but a thorough review of progress finds scant evidence of delivery against these headline goals so far. There are some bright spots of progress, but in most areas the likelihood of under-delivery is high. This is a high-wire approach to Net Zero.


climate change and environment, climate change & environment, net zero, uk, blog posts