Report by the CCC to government shows failure on climate targets, including on airports and aviation

The Climate Change Committee, the government’s advisors on climate, have produced their 2023 report, which shows that targets are being missed on nearly every front. Fewer homes were insulated last year under the government-backed scheme than the year before. There is little progress on transport emissions, no coherent programme for behaviour change, and still no decision on hydrogen and boilers for home heating. Meanwhile the installation of new wind and solar farms and the upgrading of the electricity grid are still too slow to meet net zero. The lack of urgency of government and a failure of political leadership means progress has stalled. Greenhouse gas emissions have been falling by just under 3% a year, but this will need to double over the next eight years. Chris Stark, chief executive of the CCC, said what is missing is the right political leadership, at a high level to get actions done. On aviation it says there needs to be a framework to manage airport capacity. There has been continued airport expansion in recent years, counter to the CCC assessment that there should be no net airport expansion across the UK.


2023 Progress Report to Parliament

This statutory report provides a comprehensive overview of the
UK Government’s progress to date in reducing emissions.

This states:

This year saw the release of new detail on the Government’s plans for Net Zero with the publication of the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP) prompted by last year’s High Court judgement. But policy development continues to be too slow and our assessment of the CBDP has raised new concerns. Despite new detail from Government, our confidence in the UK meeting its medium-term targets has decreased in the past year. The increased transparency embodied in the CBDP is welcome, but a key opportunity to raise the overall pace of delivery has been missed.

Policy Recommendation on aviation from the report:

The report’s key messages:

Our key messages are:

  • A lack of urgency. While the policy framework has continued to develop over the past year, this is not happening at the required pace for future targets.
  • Stay firm on existing commitments and move to delivery. The Government has made a number of strong commitments, these must be restated and moved as swiftly as possible towards delivery.
  • Retake a clear leadership role internationally. The UK will need to regain its international climate leadership.
  • Immediate priority actions and policies. Action is needed in a range of areas to deliver on the Government’s emissions pathway.
  • Develop demand-side and land use policies. The Government’s current strategy has considerable delivery risks due to its over-reliance on specific technological solutions, some of which have not yet been deployed at scale.
  • Empower and inform households and communities to make low-carbon choices. Despite some positive steps to provide households with advice on reducing energy use in the last year, a coherent public engagement strategy on climate action is long overdue.
  • Planning policy needs radical reform to support Net Zero. The planning system must have an overarching requirement that all planning decisions must be taken giving full regard to the imperative of Net Zero.
  • Expansion of fossil fuel production is not in line with Net Zero. As well as pushing forward strongly with new low-carbon industries, Net Zero also makes it necessary to move away from high-carbon developments.
  • The need for a framework to manage airport capacity. There has been continued airport expansion in recent years, counter to our assessment that there should be no net airport expansion across the UK.

See earlier:


“Possible” campaign legally challenging government’s “Jet Zero” strategy

The government has no proper aviation policy, with just unrealistic aspirations in its “Jet Zero Strategy” for the sector to be able to reduce its carbon emissions (and other climate impacts) using technologies that are either unproven or cannot be scaled up to the necessary extent.  It will not try to limit demand for air travel.  Now the climate campaign, Possible, has lodged a judicial review claim against the government because their “Jet Zero” strategy would fail to reduce aviation’s climate impacts in line with the UK’s emissions commitments and would encourage a huge increase in flights.  The Climate Change Committee, in their most recent 2022 progress report to Parliament, stated that the government needs to “implement a policy to manage aviation demand as soon as possible”. Reducing the number of flights and passengers is the only reliable way to cut the climate impact of UK aviation.  The grounds of Possible’s legal claim include the strategy’s failure to ensure that it would enable the UK’s carbon budgets to be met and, and this risks the UK failing to achieve net zero. Also that the government did not take the advice of the Climate Change Committee, and it did not consult on demand management. The campaign, GALBA, is also challenging the government over the strategy.

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Climate Change Committee reports that UK’s carbon plans (including “Jet Zero”) are unlikely to achieve “net zero” by 2050

The Climate Change Committee has updated its assessment (last was in June) of the government’s climate plans.  They say current plans are unlikely to put us on track for Net Zero by 2050. They consider only 39% of the required emissions savings are backed up by credible plans or policies. The say significant risks remain in most sectors, particularly buildings, industry, aviation & shipping, and the government’s Jet Zero Strategy (July 2022) made no improvement to the CCC’s previous climate progress assessment in June. The Government’s plans lean too heavily on yet-to-be-proven technologies, which is risky.  They recommend (and have given this advice to government for a long time, though it is ignored) a “much higher role for demand-side action in reducing emissions, which is necessary to mitigate the risk of supply-side measures falling short.”  Depending on more fuel efficient planes and SAF is uncertain, and lower air travel demand would be more effective. They also say there should be no net expansion of airport capacity, and there should be “fiscal policies to correct the imbalance between the cost of flying and lower-emission alternatives.”  The government is unwise to place hopes, before 2050, in any carbon removal technologies.

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