Just over a week on from the CCC’s Third Climate Risk Report the independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008 was back today (June 24th) with its annual assessment of UK progress in reducing emissions and biennial assessment of progress in adapting to climate change.
The tone of the proceedings was eerily familiar. There is more policy than progress from the government on adaptation, net zero, mitigation and more – Lord Debden was particularly vocal on this point – and even where strides forward have been taken, these haven’t been big enough to tackle the current impacts and future aftershocks of the climate emergency.
Following on from the above the report flagged four major gaps in the Net Zero strategy in terms of the government policy framework.
• The phase out of unabated gas-fired electricity by 2035
• Demand-side action: not enough is being done to encourage/examine changes in the following and their impact on the planet: aviation, dietary changes, walking and cycling
• Limiting Energy From Waste emissions (carbon capture, utilisation and storage forms a key part of this) and increasing both reuse and recycling
• Net Zero Aviation Strategy
Expanding on the report’s findings CIWEM’s head of policy Alastair Chisholm said: “The recent reports from CCC paint a clear picture of the government's actions not matching its fine words; a gap which the Committee describe as "a gulf", with delays in critical pieces of enabling legislation. It comes as no surprise that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are laggards but is deeply concerning that even Defra and BEIS are also falling behind on the progress they need to be making in implementing policies to achieve net zero.
“Whilst there have been great successes on decarbonising electricity generation, now is the critical point when the less-engaged parts of government and the economy need to step up. With the world watching the UK, we cannot blag COP26. A raft of policy and action is well overdue.”
Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom and we can end things on a positive note for the flood and coastal risk management sector at least. The CCC highlighted significant progress on planning for flood risk and revealed that flood defence funding was on an upward trajectory. For the latter projections also suggest that in six years we will hit the Environment Agency’s optimal scenario for flood funding.
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