Committee on Climate Change advises UK government to commit to reducing emissions by 68% cf. 1990 by 2030 (64% including IAS)
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK government’s official advisers on climate matters, will give its formal advice on the the UK’s Sixth Carbon Budget on 9th December 2020. Meanwhile the CCC’s Chairman, Lord Deben, has written to the Sec of State at BEIS, Alok Sharma, in response to his request for advice on the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), under the Paris Agreement. The CCC is advising that the UK should commit to reducing territorial emissions by at least 68% from 1990 to 2030. (The current target is about 57%). It is equivalent to a 64% reduction including international aviation and shipping (IAS) emissions, the basis of the CCC recommended Sixth Carbon Budget. This would place the UK among the leading countries in climate ambition. This is necessary, to give world leadership, as the UK hosts the COP26 talks in November 2021. However, the CCC say the 68% cut excludes emissions from IAS. There should be “additional actions to reduce the UK’s contribution to IAS emissions.” The CCC says of IAS: “these emissions …must be addressed if the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement is to be met. The UK’s NDC should include clear commitments to act on emissions from international aviation and shipping, including both long-term and interim targets.”
This letter responds to a request from the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) advice on the level of the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). Our formal advice on the the UK’s Sixth Carbon Budget will be published on 9th December 2020.
The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP
Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
1 Victoria Street
Advice on the UK’s 2030 NDC
We will publish our formal advice on the UK’s Sixth Carbon Budget on December
9th. You requested that the Climate Change Committee share our
recommendation on the UK’s 2030 NDC prior to that date. I am pleased to do so.
We welcome your insistence on ambitious UK climate leadership ahead of COP26.
Its importance cannot be overstated. Global ambition for 2030 must increase
significantly if the goals of the Paris Agreement are to be met.
We recommend that the UK commits to reduce territorial emissions by at least 68%
from 1990 to 2030, as part of the UK’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) to
the UN process. This would constitute a decisive commitment to a Net Zero
emissions trajectory, consistent with the Paris Agreement. It would place the UK
among the leading countries in climate ambition. [The current target is about 57%. It does NOT include carbon emissions generated to produce the goods we import. AW comment]
We encourage the Prime Minister to make a 2030 commitment that is as bold as
possible, to inspire other world leaders to follow suit. As such, the Government may
choose to go beyond a 68% reduction. My committee would support the use of
international credits to do so. We would not expect credits to be used towards the
68% reduction. [The CCC had earlier said that aviation offsets should be carbon removals – not just buying carbon reduction credits. In their June 2020 report P. 54 they said: “Emissions removed from the atmosphere by trees, soils or engineered carbon removal to offset residual emissions in sectors where low-carbon alternatives are limited (predominantly aviation and agriculture – Figure 1.2).” AW comment]
This trajectory for UK emissions is eminently achievable, provided effective policies
are introduced across the economy without delay. These would bring significant
benefits for the UK’s economic recovery.
The NDC is more than just a number. It should be accompanied by wider climate
commitments, including the development of a policy package and Net Zero
Strategy to deliver against the UK goal, clear commitments to reduce international
aviation and shipping emissions, and greater support for climate finance,
particularly for developing countries. It is also imperative that the NDC is
accompanied by strengthened climate change adaptation plans – with new
commitments – for the UK to show its leadership on emissions reduction and
I look forward to discussing our recommendations for the Sixth Carbon Budget.
Lord Deben, Chairman
And it continues:
Excerpt from the Sixth Carbon Budget Advice – published 9th December
CCC recommendations on the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution for 2030
The UK will host the next UN climate talks – the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) – in
Glasgow in November 2021. The period leading up to these talks is vital for increasing
global ambition. To support that process the UK must adopt a world leading NDC that
reflects best practice under the Paris Agreement.
• Ambition on reducing emissions. The UK should submit an NDC based on the
path to the Sixth Carbon Budget, requiring at least a 68% reduction in territorial
emissions from 1990 to 2030 (excluding emissions from international aviation and
shipping, IAS, in line with UN convention)1, to be delivered through domestic
action, with additional actions to reduce the UK’s contribution to IAS emissions.
– This is a clear progression from the UK’s existing commitments: its
expected effort share of the EU’s NDC (-53%), the existing fifth carbon
budget (-57%), and the expected reduction in actual emissions under
the fifth carbon budget (-61%).2
– It would be world leading compared to existing NDCs, and amongst the
front-runners for proposals for increased ambition. For example, if the EU
adopts its proposed 55% reduction for 2030, our proposed budget
would be towards the top of the range that we estimate for the UK’s
possible effort share had it still been a Member State.
– It would align with the published pathways from the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for a 1.5°C goal. UK emissions would
fall by 54% from 2010 to 2030, compared to the 45% that the IPCC
identifies for the world as a whole.
– It is equivalent to a 64% reduction including IAS emissions, the basis of
our recommended Sixth Carbon Budget.
• International aviation and shipping. While these emissions are treated separately
by the UN, they must be addressed if the temperature goal of the Paris
Agreement is to be met. The UK’s NDC should include clear commitments to act
on emissions from international aviation and shipping, including both long-term
and interim targets.
• Adaptation. Even if the Paris goals are delivered in full and global temperature
rise is limited to 1.5°C, there will be further impacts from climate change beyond
those already occurring today. If the Paris goals are missed, the global and UK
impacts will become much more severe. The UK needs to increase its ambition on
climate change adaptation, as it is not prepared even for the 1.5-2°C world. The
UK’s NDC should signal how national adaptation plans will be strengthened, as
well as highlighting how the UK is supporting climate adaptation overseas.
• International collaboration. The UK has been a strong contributor to international
climate finance, recently doubling its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate
over 2021/22-2025/26. The UK’s NDC should highlight this commitment, along with
other UK contributions to technology development and capacity building.
… and it continues
Tweet from Chris Stark, the Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change:
That’s still our (very) firm advice. We are only presenting the NDC recommendation on this basis (excluding international aviation and shipping emissions) because it’s the UN convention to do so.
It’s 64% including IAS. And the carbon budgets need to have IAS included pronto…
— Chris Stark (@ChiefExecCCC) December 3, 2020
The Committee on Climate Change report
in June 2020
Reducing UK emissions Progress Report to Parliament
• International aviation and shipping should be formally included in UK climate targets when the Sixth Carbon Budget is set, and net-zero plans should be developed.
‒ Aviation (8% of 2019 emissions). A policy framework is needed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, including demand-side measures, efficiency and low-carbon fuels, with residual emissions offset by verifiable removals. The UK’s airport capacity strategy should be reviewed in light of the net-zero target. Action is also needed on non-CO₂ warming effects from aviation.
‒ Shipping (3% of 2019 emissions) must build on the Clean Maritime Plan to develop incentives for zero-carbon ammonia & hydrogen supply chains.
Aviation. Total aviation emissions increased by 0.8% from 2017 levels to 39.3 MtCO₂e in 2018. Within this, emissions from international flights increased by 1.1% to 36.7 Mt, emissions from domestic flights fell by 5.9% to 1.5 Mt, and emissions from military aviation fell 0.6% to 1.1 Mt. Overall, emissions from domestic and international aviation in 2018 were 124% above 1990 levels
Government report by Defra, probably in 2018 (not dated)
UK’s Carbon Footprint 1997 – 2017
shows how around 45% of the UK’s consumption carbon emissions are “embodied” carbon in things we import. Those carbon emissions are not included in the UK totals, but added to those of the producing, exporting country.
So the UK’s territorial emissions only account for perhaps 55% fo the total (not including international aviation and shipping).
Chart on Page 6
see link for better quality image
The Aviation Environment Federation tweeted:
4/4 Given the historic opportunity represented by the upcoming @COP26 in Glasgow, we would urge Govt to go beyond CCC’s recommendation and include ✈️ and 🚢 in the NDC.
The airline industry should meanwhile be preparing itself to be held accountable under UK law from 2033.
— AEF (@The_AEF) December 3, 2020
2/4 The advice on the ambition of the UK’s NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) comes ahead of CCC’s advice next week on the 6th carbon budget (2033-’37). Int’l aviation emissions should be formally included in UK’s climate law from 6th carbon budget onwards, CCC will argue
— AEF (@The_AEF) December 3, 2020
See also Guardian article at