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Environmental Audit Committee to launch new inquiry into progress on carbon budgets

15 March 2013

The Committee has launched a new inquiry, following up its October 2011 Carbon Budgets report (PDF 591.94 KB)

That report looked ahead to the December 2011 publication of the Government’s Carbon Plan (PDF 4.38 MB) to support the delivery of the statutory carbon reduction targets in the Climate Change Act 2008.  The Carbon Plan replaced the previous Government’s 2009 Low Carbon Transition Plan.

In June 2013, the Committee on Climate Change will publish its 5th annual progress report on UK emissions reduction against the Carbon Budget targets. This will cover the outturn data for the first Carbon Budget period (2008-2012), and make recommendations to Government on any changes needed to the Budgets. The Government is required to respond by mid-October 2013. In 2014, the Committee on Climate Change will also report its advice ahead of a Government review later in 2014 on whether the Fourth Carbon Budget (2023-2027) should be relaxed in light of a weak EU Emissions Trading System carbon price (a concern covered in the Environmental Audit Committee’s 2011 report).

These developments are against a background of some commentators recently questioning whether a 2oC rise in global temperature is still feasible given likely emissions reduction agreements. 

The EAC’s follow-on inquiry will examine:

  • In the light of current climate change assessments, whether the emissions reduction targets in the Climate Change Act (which underpin the UK Carbon Budgets) are still valid as an appropriate UK contribution to avoiding dangerous global climate change; and if not, whether the Act and/or the Carbon Budgets should be revised.
  • The operation and management of the Carbon Budgets, including: the accountability and governance arrangements, and the extent to which the EAC’s previous concerns and recommendations have been addressed; the effectiveness of the overall management system, including for meeting carbon budgets by sector; and the current status, operation and impact of the National Emissions Target Board. 
  • What the Government’s response should be to the Committee on Climate Change’s June 2013 assessment of emissions reduction performance, and whether the Carbon Budgets should be tightened or relaxed.

Further information

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