Amber Rudd confirms government will agree 5th Carbon Budget on 30th June
Date added: June 29, 2016
The government was under obligation to write the 5th Carbon Budget into law by 30th June. Amber Rudd has now made a statement to confirm this will be done. The budget sets the cap on UK emissions for the period 2028-2032, and requires cuts in the UK’s CO2 emissions of 57% against 1990 levels by 2032. The carbon budgets are important for aviation, even though international aviation and shipping are not included in them. The CCC advises that “International aviation should continue to be allowed for in the size of the budget for other sectors, but not formally included.” 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 aviation CO2 emissions in 2050 should not exceed their level in 2005 – 37.5 MtCO2. With the Brexit vote, there were fears that a more climate-sceptic government might try to weaken the budgets. Amber Rudd has now said that though “Brexit would result in a “harder road” for the UK as it worked to meet its climate goals, the government remained firmly committed to the emission reduction targets set out in the Climate Change Act.” Amber said, in relation to climate-sceptic Boris, that the stance of a candidate for Prime Minister on climate would be important in her decision of who to back.
Amber Rudd: UK remains fully committed to climate action in wake of Brexit vote
By Michael Holder and James Murray (Business Green)
29 June 2016
Energy and Climate Change Secretary insists government is still “full tilt” behind Hinkley Point, and says she will only support a Tory leadership candidate who takes climate action seriously
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd today sought to reassure green businesses and investors of the government’s continued commitment to securing clean energy supplies and building a low carbon economy in the wake of last week’s decision to leave the European Union.
In her first major speech since the referendum result, Rudd – who was a leading backer of the Remain campaign – stressed that while she still believed Brexit would result in a “harder road” for the UK as it worked to meet its climate goals, the government remained firmly committed to the emission reduction targets set out in the Climate Change Act.
She also confirmed the government would announce its decision on the long-awaited Fifth Carbon Budget tomorrow, the day of the legally binding deadline for approving new carbon targets for the early 2030s.
Appearing at the Business and Climate Summit in London, Rudd reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the Hinkley Point nuclear power project, and emphasised that she would strive to make sure the UK secured a strong Brexit deal with the EU that supported continued investment in clean energy infrastructure.
“The decision to leave the European Union was of historic significance – I argued fervently against it but a clear majority disagreed with me,” said Rudd. “So what do you do after you’ve lost such a battle? You dust yourself down, take a deep breath and get back to fighting for what is best for the country.”
She told the audience that despite the referendum result and uncertainty over who would take over as Prime Minister, the government remained committed to delivering a secure energy supply alongside affordable bills for families.
“I want to outline our commitment to climate change,” she said. “We made a clear commitment to tackling climate change in our manifesto last year. That will continue.
“So while I think dealing with the planet has been made harder by last Thursday, our commitment to dealing with it has not gone away,” she added. “Central to that is the Climate Change Act.”
Rudd also emphasised that the 2008 Climate Change Act was “not imposed on us by the EU – it was delivered with cross party support” in Parliament, before praising the legislation for “underpinning remarkable investment” in low carbon technologies and renewable energy since 2010.
Observers have voiced fears that the involvement of leading climate sceptics in the Leave campaign could lead to post-Brexit push to water down environmental policies and low carbon investment programmes.
But Rudd insisted the government remained fully committed to meeting its climate goals and would continue to work with international partners to tackle the threat presented by climate change. “As investors and businesses you can be confident we remain committed to building a low carbon infrastructure fit for the 21st century,” she told the audience of green business executives.
…. more on energy infrastructure ….
But asked whether she approved of Boris Johnson’s previous hints that he did not fully accept warnings from climate scientists, Rudd stressed that any contender she ended up backing would have to be committed to tackling climate change. She added that their stance on climate change would “absolutely essential to my decision and I will be very clear on getting a commitment on that”.
Rudd closed by arguing that for those who voted to leave the EU, the decision was an emotional one rather than an economic one and as such presented a lesson for green businesses and campaigners. She said it was important for the government and green business leaders to make a stronger emotional argument for tackling climate change and boosting clean energy investment, given it was ultimately about “protecting our planet and protecting our future”.
The speech was widely welcomed by green groups.
“Coming a few days after the outcome of the EU referendum, it is positive to hear Amber Rudd highlight the importance of continuing to tackle climate change,” said Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group.
“As shown by the 195 countries that adopted the Paris Agreement in December, climate change is an issue that is of major concern to leaders around the world. The world economy is also seeing an important shift towards low carbon technologies, with a record $285bn invested in renewable energy in 2015 and countries such as China reducing their production of coal. It is in the UK’s environmental and economic interest to stay in touch with these global trends, remain actively involved in international climate change diplomacy and support the growth of a strong national low carbon economy that already employs over 238,500 people directly.”
His comments were echoed by Sue Armstrong Brown, policy director at Green Alliance, who said Rudd’s speech “embodied the best of the Conservative political tradition, demonstrating that the government’s commitment to the protection of our green and pleasant land is undiminished, despite the fast changing geopolitical landscape”.
She added that to provide investors with further assurances the approval of the fifth carbon budget now needed to be “quickly followed by a robust carbon plan, to improve investors’ damaged confidence and to enable the UK to attract much needed infrastructure investment”.
Sam Barker, director of the Conservative Environment Network, said green businesses now had an opportunity to help shape a Brexit deal that benefits the environment.
“Ministers across this Conservative government have delivered significant environmental improvements, from planning an ambitious coal phase-out to creating the world’s largest marine reserve,” he said. “That is a strong foundation for coming years. The result of the referendum provides an unprecedented opportunity for innovative environmental action. New policies can deliver new markets and bring greater protection to nature. All the leadership contenders must set out their stall as regards the environment.”
The commitment should allay anxieties in the green energy sector that last week’s leave vote would water down the UK’s leadership on climate change, or that the decision to approve the budget would be left to the next prime minister.
The energy secretary, Amber Rudd, is scheduled to give a speech on climate change on Wednesday to business leaders in London, though she is not expected to use it to announce the acceptance of the fifth carbon budget
Separately, the UN’s climate change chief has urged a post-Brexit Britain not to give up its leadership on global warming action.
Christiana Figueres warned on Tuesday that should article 50 be triggered it would bring uncertainty for two years but cooperation on climate change could be one area of continuity between the UK and EU.
“Should that be the case [article 50 being triggered], there is going be quite a lot of uncertainty, transition, volatility for at least two years,” she told an audience in London.
The fifth carbon budget – The next step towards a low-carbon economy
This report presents the Committee’s advice on the fifth carbon budget, covering the period 2028-32, as required under Section 34 of the Climate Change Act 2008.
The Committee recommends that the fifth carbon budget is set at 1,765 MtCO2e, including emissions from international shipping, over the period 2028-2032. That would limit annual emissions to an average 57% below 1990 levels. This balances a range of factors the Committee must consider, keeps the UK on its cost-effective path to the 2050 legislated commitment to reduce UK emissions by 80% on 1990 levels, and continues the UK’s historical rate of emissions reduction.
To date, in line with advice from the Committee, four carbon budgets have been legislated. The Government must legislate the level of the fifth carbon budget by June 2016.
Conservative backbenchers urge Cameron to back Fifth Carbon Budget targets (against Treasury and BIS)
May 5, 2016
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.
Aviation emissions must be accounted for in carbon budgets, AEF says in evidence to CCC
February 12, 2016
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.