A month is a long time in politics. The euphoria surrounding the introduction and passage of the legislation for 2050 net zero target has proved short-lived, and the government has been pushed very much onto the back foot following the publication of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC)’s 2019 scorecard on progress to attainment of existing carbon budgets.
This annual progress report reported a significant shortfall policy action, with a substantial gap between current plans and future requirements. It issued a stern warning that the UK’s credibility on climate change is resting on the action the government takes over the next 18 months.
Specifically, the CCC found that the government had delivered just one of 25 key policies necessary to steer emissions reductions back on track, while action to prepare homes, businesses and the natural environment for increased temperatures is now less ambitious than it was 10 years ago. The CCC also found, across 33 key sectors, none have shown good progress with regards to managing climate change risk.
The parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) had already kicked off a new inquiry into the net zero target, seeking written evidence by 15 August. It will look at among other things how interim targets should be set, enforced and monitored.