Conservative backbenchers urge Cameron to back Fifth Carbon Budget targets (against Treasury and BIS)
Before the end of June the “Fifth carbon budget” must be written into law by Parliament. The budget will set the cap on UK emissions for the period 2028-2032. It would see cuts in the UK’s CO2 emissions of 57% against 1990 levels by 2032. That represents steady ongoing progress towards the UK’s long-term legal requirement to cut CO2 by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. It builds on the 36% reduction already achieved by 2014 and the 52% reduction by 2025 already committed to under the existing four carbon budgets. But the government, especially the Treasury and BIS, would like the target weakened. International aviation and shipping are not included. Now 20 Conservative backbenchers have written to the Prime Minister, calling on him to adopt Committee on Climate Change recommendations for post-2030 carbon targets. They want him to ensure there is “early and full agreement” across government in support of the adoption of the Fifth Carbon Budget. Earlier, the Fourth Carbon Budget was only rubber-stamped during the last parliament following a lengthy row between Ministers at DECC, against the Treasury and BIS. The UK is already off track for meeting the goals. The letter is signed by a number of high profile former ministers.
Conservative backbenchers urge Cameron to back Fifth Carbon Budget
By James Murray (Business Green)
5 May 2016
20 ‘Green Tories’ write to Prime Minister calling on him to adopt Committee on Climate Change recommendations for post-2030 carbon targets
A group of 20 Conservative MPs have today written to Prime Minister David Cameron, urging him to secure “early and full agreement” across government in support of the adoption of the Fifth Carbon Budget in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) recommendations.
The letter, which was convened by Graham Stuart MP, boasts support from a number of high profile backbenchers, including former environment minister Richard Benyon, chair of the health committee Sarah Wollaston, Environmental Audit Committee member Peter Aldous, and former health minister Daniel Poulter.
It argues adopting the Fifth Carbon Budget and accepting the CCC’s recommendations for a 57% cut in carbon emissions against 1990 levels by 2032 would reduce the costs of decarbonisation and help mobilise investment in low carbon infrastructure.
“Following the historic outcome of the Paris climate conference, the shift to low carbon technology in transport, buildings and energy markets is accelerating again,” the letter states. “The UK played a pivotal role in the agreement and we now need to make sure that we attract the greatest possible investment in UK low and zero carbon infrastructure with the supply chain and employment benefits this can bring.
“The CCC’s advice is tailored to our meeting our carbon obligations at the lowest possible cost and with the highest ancillary gains. Early and full acceptance of that advice will give investors and government the confidence to act and so maintain this government’s proud record of lower emissions combined with sustained economic growth.”
Observers fear the decision over the Fifth Carbon Budget could be the subject of an internal battle within government, after the previous Fourth Carbon Budget was only rubberstamped during the last parliament following a lengthy row between Ministers at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Treasury, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Number 10 ultimately approved the CCC’s recommendations for the Fourth Carbon Budget, which runs through the mid-2020s, but it has subsequently emerged the UK is off track for meeting the goals and the government has said it will have to come forward with a new plan to ensure medium-term emissions targets are met.
Some green business leaders fear the government could now look to water down the Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budget, by rejecting the CCC’s recommendations or using loopholes that allow the targets to be complied with using large amounts of imported carbon allowances that critics claim do not equate to genuine emission reductions or increased clean infrastructure investment.
The group of Conservative MPs declare the Prime Minister can count on their support if he endorses the CCC’s recommendations as they stand.
“We are writing to offer our support for the adoption of the Fifth Carbon Budget as recommended by the Climate Change Committee and to encourage you in your efforts to get early and full agreement on the advice across government,” they state.
The intervention comes just days after the cross-party Energy and Climate Change Committee of MPs similarly urged the government to accept the CCC’s recommendations when approving the Fifth Carbon Budget.
Angus MacNeil, chair of the committee, said MPs had found “no basis” for downgrading the UK’s ambition with the fifth carbon budget and warned the government it would be “looking carefully for a robust evidence-base” if any alternative target is proposed.
The full list of MPs signing the letter is: Graham Stuart, Richard Benyon, Peter Aldous, Heidi Allen, Neil Carmichael, Alex Chalk, Oliver Colvile, Michelle Donelan, Flick Drummond, James Heappey, Kevin Hollinrake, Jonathan Lord, Neil Parish, Dr Daniel Poulter, Rebecca Pow, Antoinette Sandbach, Derek Thomas, David Warburton, Sarah Wollaston, and Mike Wood.
Between now and the end of June the “fifth carbon budget” must be written into law by Parliament. The budget will set the cap on UK emissions for the period 2028-2032. By law it must be legislated within the next three months but, like all budgets, its content is subject to discussion and debate. The legislated budget must take into account the advice of the Committee on Climate Change, the views of governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the criteria in the Climate Change Act. Here we recap some of the Committee’s advice, which was delivered to Parliament and published in November 2015.
The Committee recommended that the budget be set to require a 57% reduction in emissions from 1990 to 2030. That represents steady ongoing progress towards the UK’s long-term legal requirement to reduce emissions by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. It builds on the 36% reduction already achieved by 2014 and the 52% reduction by 2025 already committed to under the existing four carbon budgets. The 57% proposal is the natural next step ….
….. and it continues …….
Aviation emissions must be accounted for in carbon budgets, AEF says in evidence to CCC
The Committee on Climate Change put out a call for evidence last year, on its 5th Carbon Budget, which will cover the period 2028-32. The Government must legislate the level of the 5th Carbon Budget by June 2016. The CCC has recommended that the CO2 emissions from international aviation must be accounted for in the setting of the 5th carbon budget to provide the appropriate framework for future climate change policy. But the CO2 emissions from international shipping are fully included. AEF, the Aviation Environment Federation, say it is particularly important to have aviation CO2 properly included now as the Government has indicated its theoretical support for a new runway in the South East, which could significantly increase the scale of the UK aviation emissions challenge. It is disappointing that the CCC did not recommend formal inclusion of aviation in the carbon budget, which would provide greater certainty in relation to the sector’s future development. AEF believes that the CCC’s recommended approach of setting the budget with a view to aviation’s formal inclusion in future budgets provides a ‘next best’ alternative. The CCC has long recommended that in order to allow for aviation’s future inclusion in carbon budgets, Government should plan on the assumption that emissions from the sector in 2050 should not exceed their level in 2005 – 37.5 MtCO2 – allowing for a 60% growth in aviation passengers between 2005 and 2050.
Government fails to properly include international aviation in UK carbon budgets – decision put off till 2016
The government was legally required to make a statement to Parliament by the end of December on whether it will include CO2 emissions from international aviation and shipping (IAS) in the UK’s climate target under the Climate Change Act. Today Ed Davey went against the advice from the Committee on Climate Change, and postponed the decision, using some ambiguous wording. His exact words were that the government “is deferring a firm decision on whether to include international aviation and shipping emissions within the UK’s net carbon account” and that it “will revisit this issue when setting the fifth Carbon Budget (2028 – 2032).” ie. in 2016, which is after the next general election. IAS will continue to be excluded from the first 4 carbon budgets, which run until 2027. The Chancellor and many Conservatives are reluctant to do anything that can be seen as strengthening environmental regulations. If the greenhouse gases from IAS were included in the UK targets, other sectors, including electricity generation and industry, would have to make steeper cuts in their emissions. Government justifies its postponement by arguing that there is uncertainty about the EU ETS at present, and also whether there just might be progress on a global aviation carbon scheme through ICAO in 2013.