On 15 October 2018 the governments of the UK, Scotland and Wales asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to provide advice on the UK and Devolved Administrations’ long-term targets for greenhouse gas emissions and the UK’s transition to a net zero-carbon economy. Specifically: when the UK should reach net zero emissions of carbon dioxide and/or greenhouse gases as a contribution to global ambition under the Paris Agreement; if that target should be set now; the implications for emissions in 2050; how such reductions can be achieved; and the costs and benefits involved in comparison to existing targets.
The advice has been requested by the end of March 2019.
The UK’s long-term emissions target is currently for at least an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2050. It covers all sectors, including international aviation and shipping and is measured on a ‘territorial’ basis (i.e. based on emissions arising in the UK). On a comparable basis, emissions in 2017 were estimated to be 38% below 1990 levels.
The current target was set in 2008 based on advice from the Committee. That advice considered that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the central expectation of global temperature rise should be limited “to, or close to, 2°C”, while the probability of crossing “the extreme danger threshold of 4°C” should be reduced to an extremely low level. That meant global emissions would roughly have to halve by 2050. The 2008 advice made the assumption that the UK should not plan to have a higher level of per capita emissions in 2050 than the global average.
The long-term target guides the setting of carbon budgets (sequential five-year caps on emissions that currently extend to 2032 and require a reduction in emissions of 57% from 1990 to 2030). Both the 2050 target and the carbon budgets guide the setting of policies to cut emissions across the economy (for example as set out most recently in the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy).
Any change to the long-term targets would therefore be expected to have significant implications, not just in the long-term but on current policies to drive the transition.
The Committee will advise based on a thorough consideration of the relevant evidence. We expect that to cover:
- The latest climate science, including as contained in the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C.
- The terms of the Paris Agreement.
- Global pathways (including those reported by the IPCC) consistent with limiting global average temperature rise in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- International circumstances, including existing plans and commitments to cut emissions in other countries, actions to deliver on those plans and opportunities for going further.
- An updated assessment of the current and potential options for deep emissions reductions in the UK and emissions removals from the atmosphere, including options for going beyond the current 80% target towards net zero.
- An appraisal of the costs, risks and opportunities from setting a tighter long-term target.
- The actions needed in the near term that would be consistent with achieving the long-term targets.
This Call for Evidence will contribute to that advice.
Responding to the Call for Evidence
We encourage responses that are brief and to the point (i.e. a maximum of 400 words per question, plus links to supporting evidence, answering only those questions where you have particular expertise), and may follow up for more detail where appropriate.You do not need to answer all the questions, please answer only those questions where you have specific expertise and evidence to share.
Please download the question and response form here and then e-mail your response to: email@example.com using the subject line: ‘Zero carbon economy – Call for Evidence’. Alternatively, you can complete the following question and answer form below.
If you would prefer to post your response, please send it to:
The Committee on Climate Change – Call for Evidence
7 Holbein Place
London SW1W 8NR
The deadline for responses is 12 noon on Friday 7 December 2018.
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Information on organisation / individual submitting response
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