CC: Policy Exchange
today announced it will leave the UK's emission reduction
targets as they are.
The UK has a legally
binding obligation to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by
2050 on 1990 levels. To ensure progress is made at a steady pace,
four interim targets were included in the law - known as carbon
It has been reported for some time that chancellor
George Osborne wanted to
weaken these targets, opening the door for increased use of gas
power. The government's advisory body, the Committee on Climate
Change (CCC), has always maintained there were
no grounds for such a move.
The UK met its first carbon budget and is currently
making progress towards the second. The chancellor was reportedly
looking to change the
fourth carbon budget, covering the period from 2023 to 2027,
which is roughly when new gas capacity might be expected to come
The budget requires emissions to be reduced by 50 per cent on
1990 levels in 2025. Having gone through a
review of the basis of the fourth carbon budget, the government
today decided to keep that target.
No change of circumstance
The Climate Change Act says the government can legally
change the carbon budget if there were "significant
changes" in circumstances since the target was set.
Changes in the scientific evidence on climate change, economic
circumstances, and the rate at which other countries are
decarbonising can all be considered.
Energy and climate change secretary
Ed Davey says the fourth carbon budget review made it
"clear that the evidence does not support amending the budget",
with the government's decision being "consistent with the advice of
the Committee on Climate Change".