Last edited 24 Oct 2016

Carbon plan


[edit] Introduction

The Climate Change Act 2008 established a legally binding target to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% below 1990 year levels by 2050.

To drive progress, the Act introduced a system of carbon budgets which provide legally binding limits on the amount of emissions that may be produced in successive five-year periods, beginning in 2008. The first three carbon budgets were set in law in May 2009. The fourth carbon budget was set in law on 30 June 2011.

  1. 2008-2012, 23% reduction below 1990 levels.
  2. 2013-2017, 29% reduction below 1990 levels.
  3. 2018-2022, 35% reduction below 1990 levels.
  4. 2023-2027, 50% reduction below 1990 levels.

The Low Carbon Transition Plan: National strategy for climate and energy, published in July 2009, set out the strategy for meeting the first three carbon budgets. It was an overarching document and a number of more detailed documents were published alongside it, including:

  • Low Carbon Transport – a Greener Future (DfT)
  • The UK Low Carbon Industrial Strategy (BIS and DECC).
  • The UK Renewable Energy Strategy (DECC).

The Carbon Plan: Delivering our low carbon future updated and superseded the 2009 report and presented the Government’s strategy for meeting all four carbon budgets, with a particular focus on the fourth carbon budget. It was presented to parliament by the UK government in December 2011.

[edit] Part 1

Part 1 of the plan sets out the government’s overall approach to the twin challenges of climate change and energy security:

  • It sets out a number of principles that underpin the transition to a low-carbon economy
  • It presents a vision for 2050 in key sectors.
  • It describes a range of three possible future scenarios.

[edit] Part 2

Part 2 of the plan outlines the government’s strategy for achieving the carbon budgets, setting out sectoral plans for:

  • Buildings.
  • Transport.
  • Industry.
  • Secure, low carbon electricity.
  • Agriculture, forestry and land management.
  • Waste and resource efficiency.

[edit] Part 3

Part 3 of the plan presents different ways in which the fourth carbon budget could be met through different combinations of the possible actions for different sectors.

It describes four scenarios for delivering non-traded sector emissions reductions and 2 scenarios for delivering traded sector emissions reductions.

Short quarterly updates on the implementation of the Carbon Plan are available here.

[edit] Progress

On 15 December 2015, the Green Construction Board published, Low Carbon Routemap for the Built Environment, 2015 Routemap Progress | Technical Report. This updated the Low Carbon Routemap for the Built Environment prepared in 2013 aimed at delivering an 80% cut in UK built environment carbon emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

It found that annual emissions in the UK had actually increased since 2009, primarily due to an increase in gas consumption from heating. The report states “There has been a growing divergence occurring over just a few years (2009 through 2013). Given the steepness of the trajectory required to meet the ambition for built environment carbon reductions (and statutory targets for the UK as a whole), a significant transformation from the ongoing ‘status quo’ trajectory is needed.”

It also found a slight increase in ‘capital carbon’, suggesting “The data provides no evidence of a trend driven by efficiencies or process improvements in design, manufacturing or the supply chain."

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