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Climate Change Committee progress reports
The Climate Change Act was introduced in 2008 and was the first time a country had introduced a legally binding framework for tackling climate change. One of the many different aspects of the Act, as well as the 2050 Target Amendment Order 2019 and Credit Limit Order 2021, was the establishment of the Climate Change Committee or CCC (previously referred to as the Committee on Climate Change). It was also a significant element of the Act that the Climate Change Committee advise Government and report annually to Parliament. This article highlights separately those progress reports in brief, from the latest first there may also be articles available covering each report as it was issued in greater detail.
 Progress in adapting to climate change – 2023 Report to Parliament. March 2023.
This report provided the Committee’s biennial report of progress in preparing for climate change as required under the Climate Change Act. It provided an assessment of progress at the end of two National Adaptation Programmes, the statutory programme required from Government to help prepare the country for climate change. The second National Adaptation Programme covered the period of 2018 – 2023 and the third is due to be published in the summer of 2023.
 Key messages
The second National Adaptation Programme has not adequately prepared the UK for climate change. The assessment has found very limited evidence of the implementation of adaptation at the scale needed to fully prepare for climate risks facing the UK across cities, communities, infrastructure, economy and ecosystems.
The impacts from extreme weather in the UK over the last year highlighted the urgency of adapting to climate change. The record-breaking temperatures seen in summer 2022 brought unprecedented numbers of heat-related deaths, wildfire incidents and significant infrastructure disruption.
The next National Adaptation Programme must make a step change. The next National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) must be much more ambitious than its predecessors and lead to a long overdue shift in focus towards the delivery of effective adaptation.
 CCC Adaptation Monitoring Framework. March 2023.
Since 2010, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has conducted adaptation progress reports to assess the effectiveness of adaptation action across the UK. In 2023, the approach was efreshed, in terms of monitoring adaptation progress and how adaptation delivery is monitored. The purpose of this document was to provide a guide to the current monitoring framework on adapting to climate change, an evolving framework, continually updated over time.
 CCC Monitoring Framework. June 2022.
The UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have ambitious targets to reduce emissions. Now the priority is to deliver against these targets. This shift in focus, from ambition to delivery, is the basis of the new Monitoring Framework, which set out an updated approach to tracking UK progress. An evolving framework, which will continually be updated over time, including as targets change, when new data becomes available, and after major Government decarbonisation strategies. Feedback and suggestions welcome.
 2022 Progress Report to Parliament. June 2022.
This statutory report provided a comprehensive overview of the UK Government’s progress to date in reducing emissions, accompanied by a new Monitoring Framework detailing the CCC’s updated approach to tracking real-world progress through a host of new indicators.
A pivotal point in the UK’s journey to Net Zero, it is one of the few countries with emissions targets in line with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Policy ambition has moved substantially with the publication of the UK’s Net Zero Strategy. Now is the time to deliver the promised action.
 Key messages
- The UK Government now has a solid Net Zero strategy in place, but important policy gaps remain.
- Tangible progress is lagging the policy ambition. With an emissions path set for the UK and the Net Zero Strategy published, greater emphasis and focus must be placed on delivery.
- Successful delivery of changes on the ground requires active management of delivery risks. Not all policies will deliver as planned. Some may be more successful than expected, while others will fall behind.
- Action to address the rising cost of living should be aligned with Net Zero. There remains an urgent need for equivalent action to reduce demand for fossil fuels to reduce emissions and limit energy bills.
- Slow progress on wider enablers. The Net Zero Strategy contained warm words on many of the cross-cutting enablers of the transition, but there has been little concrete progress.
- The UK must build on a successful COP26. The UK presidency of the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last November successfully strengthened long-term global ambition and introduced new mechanisms to support delivery. It should prioritise making those new mechanisms work in practice and strengthening global 2030 ambition, while preparing for a focus on climate finance and adaptation at COP27 in 2022 and COP28 in 2023.
- Emissions rose 4% in 2021 compared with 2020 as the economy began to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Progress Report to Parliament. June 2021.
A double report – Progress in reducing emissions and Progress in adapting to climate change provided a comprehensive overview of the UK Government’s progress to date on reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. Together, the assessment offered more than 200 policy recommendations covering every part of Government.
The Government made historic climate promises in the past year, for which it deserved credit. However, it has been too slow to follow these with delivery. This defining year for the UK’s climate credentials has been marred by uncertainty and delay to a host of new climate strategies. Those that have emerged have too often missed the mark. With every month of inaction, it is harder for the UK to get on track.
 Key messages
- Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. Sustained reductions in emissions require sustained Government leadership, underpinned by a strong Net Zero Strategy:
- A Net Zero Test would ensure that all Government policy, including planning decisions, is compatible with UK climate targets.
- An ambitious Heat and Buildings Strategy, that works for consumers, is urgently needed.
- Delayed plans on surface transport, aviation, hydrogen, biomass and food must be delivered.
- Plans for the power sector, industrial decarbonisation, the North Sea, peat and energy from waste must be strengthened.
- The big cross-cutting challenges of public engagement, fair funding and local delivery must be tackled.
- Only five of 34 sectors assessed have shown notable progress in the past two years, and no sector is yet scoring highly in lowering its level of risk. We provide 50 recommendations, including:
- Restore 100% of upland peat by 2045, including through a ban on rotational burning.
- Bring forward proposed plans to address overheating risk in homes through Building Regulations.
- Make the Government’s next round of Adaptation Reporting mandatory for all infrastructure sectors.
- Build a strong emergency resilience capability for the UK against climate shocks, learning from the COVID-19 response.
- Implement a public engagement programme on climate change adaptation.
- = 2020 =
 Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament. June 2020.
Report assessed progress in reducing UK emissions over the previous year and included new advice to the UK Government on securing a green and resilient recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. It recommended that Ministers seize the opportunity to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a defining moment in the fight against climate change. Although a limited number of steps have been taken over the past year to support the transition to a net-zero economy and improve the UK’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, much remains to be done. For the first time, the Committee set out its recommendations to government department by government department.
 Key messgages
The Committee’s new analysis expanded on its May 2020 advice, in which it set out the principles for building a resilient recovery. In its report, the Committee assessed a wide set of measures and gathered the latest evidence on the role of climate policies in the economic recovery, highlighting five clear investment priorities.
- Low-carbon retrofits and buildings that are fit for the future
- Tree planting, peatland restoration, and green infrastructure
- Energy networks must be strengthened
- Infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely
- Moving towards a circular economy.
- Reskilling and retraining programmes
- Leading a move towards positive behaviours
- Targeted science and innovation funding
 Reducing UK emissions – 2019 Progress Report to Parliament. July 2019.
This the Committee’s annual report to Parliament, assessed progress in reducing UK emissions over the past year. It found that UK action to curb greenhouse gas emissions was lagging behind what was needed to meet legally-binding emissions targets. Since June 2018, Government has delivered only 1 of 25 critical policies needed to get emissions reductions back on track.
 Key recommendations
- Net-zero policy to be embedded across all levels and departments of Government.
- Government policies to reduce UK emissions to net zero are business-friendly.
- The public are fully engaged in the UK’s net-zero transition.
- The UK strongly leads international action to tackle climate change.
 Progress in preparing for climate change – 2019 Progress Report to Parliament. July 2019.
This report set out the Adaptation Committee’s latest assessment of progress in preparing for climate change in England, and provided a first evaluation of the Government’s second National Adaptation Programme.
- The priority given to adaptation, including through the institutional and support framework in England, has been eroded over the past ten years.
- England is still not prepared for even a 2°C rise in global temperature, let alone more extreme levels of warming. Only a handful of sectors have plans that consider a minimum of 2°C global warming – water supply, road and rail, flood defences and flood risk planning for infrastructure.
- Many national plans and policies still lack a basic acknowledgement of long-term climate change, or make a passing mention but have no associated actions to reduce risk. This includes aspects of agriculture, the natural environment, health, other infrastructure sectors and business.
- None of the sectors assessed have yet been given top scores for reducing the risks from climate change through appropriate action.
- The UK Government must raise the profile, and strengthen the governance, of preparations for the impacts of climate change. It should ramp up resources and action on all of the urgent risks set out in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, continue to take appropriate action for those classed as less urgent (but still important), and monitor the effects on climate risk over the next five year period.
 Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament. June 2018.
 Key messages
Overall, UK emissions were down 43% compared to the 1990 baseline while the economy has grown significantly over the same period. However most of this is down to excellent progress in reducing emissions from electricity generation, while reductions in other sectors have stalled. Four key messages were passed to Government:
- Support the simple, low-cost options.
- Commit to effective regulation and strict enforcement.
- End the chopping and changing of policy.
- Act now to keep long-term options open.
 2017 Report to Parliament – Progress in preparing for climate change. June 2017.
 Key messages
Some action has been taken to address the risks from climate change, including important steps to fund and improve river and coastal flood defences and to improve the resilience of energy, transport and water infrastructure to severe weather.
It also found that the next National Adaptation Programme needs to be strengthened in the first half of 2018, it must address priority areas including flood risks to homes and businesses, risks to the natural environment, including to soils and biodiversity, and risks to human health and wellbeing from higher temperatures. It must be more ambitious, with policies that make a measurable difference and with clearer mechanisms to track progress
 2017 Report to Parliament – Meeting Carbon Budgets: Closing the policy gap. June 2017.
 Key messages
Although good progress has been made to date, that progress was stalling. Since 2012, emissions reductions have been largely confined to the power sector, whilst emissions from transport and building stock were rising.
 2017 Report to Parliament – Summary and recommendations. June 2017.
 Key messages
The plans to be developed by the new Government will be drawn up against a backdrop of changes that could help to deliver better policy. However, some of these changes also present risks to the delivery of those climate change plans
- Government response to the Committee On Climate Change 2017 Report to Parliament – meeting Carbon Budgets
- Government response to the Committee on Climate Change 2017 Report to Parliament – progress in preparing for climate change
 Progress report 2016: meeting carbon budgets. June 2016.
The eighth annual report on the UK’s progress in meeting carbon budget, showed that greenhouse gas emissions have fallen rapidly in the UK power sector, but that progress stalled in other sectors, such as:
 Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change: 2015 Progress Report to Parliament. June 2015.
This Progress Report to Parliament covered both progress towards meeting carbon budgets and progress on adaptation to climate change. It included the Adaptation Sub-Committee’s first ever statutory assessment of the National Adaptation Programme. The report came in 3 volumes:
- Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change: 2015 Progress Report to Parliament: Summary and recommendations
- Meeting Carbon Budgets – Progress in reducing the UK’s emissions: 2015 Report
- Progress in preparing for climate change: 2015 Report to Parliament
 Meeting Carbon Budgets – 2014 Progress Report to Parliament. July 2014.
The sixth statutory report to Parliament on progress towards meeting carbon budgets. The latest data on emissions and their drivers were considered, it also included a full assessment of how the first carbon budget (2008-2012) was met, drawing out policy lessons and setting out what was required for the future to stay on track for the legislated carbon budgets and the 2050 target. The report included assessment at the level of the economy, the non-traded and traded sectors, the key emitting sectors and the devolved administrations.
 Key message
The report investigated the threats and opportunities for the country from climate change, focusing on the risks to infrastructure, business and public health. It also provided an update on previous analysis on flooding, and considered the capacity in the emergency response system to handle climate extremes.
The third in the series of annual reports from the Adaptation Sub-Committee exploring what should be done in England to prepare for climate change. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have separate adaptation programmes.
 Managing the land in a changing climate – Adaptation Sub-Committee progress report 2013. July 2013.
This report reviewed some of the key ecosystem services provided by the land. Specifically, the report addresses the use of land to continue to deliver important goods and services in the face of a changing climate – supplying food and timber, providing habitat for wildlife, storing carbon in the soil, and coping with sea level rise on the coast. It explored the extent to which decisions about the land are helping the country to prepare for climate change.
 Meeting Carbon Budgets – 2013 Progress Report to Parliament. June 2013.
Fifth statutory report to Parliament on progress towards meeting carbon budgets, considered the latest data on emissions and their drivers, progress developing new policies required in order to reduce emissions. The report included assessment at the level of the economy, the non-traded and traded sectors, the key emitting sectors and the devolved administrations.
 Key message
The main conclusion was that there has been good progress implementing some measures, notably loft and cavity wall insulation, boiler replacement, new car efficiency, investment in renewable power generation, and waste emissions reduction.
 Meeting Carbon Budgets – 2012 Progress Report to Parliament. June 2012.
The Committee on Climate Change’s 2012 progress report looked at emissions trends over the previous year and evaluated underlying progress in implementing carbon-reduction measures and policies in the UK. It assessed performance of government policies in driving down emissions – including in areas such as Electricity Market Reform, the Green Deal and Carbon Capture & Storage.
 Key message
The report found that Greenhouse Gas Emissions fell by 7%. But only 0.8% of this could be linked directly to implementation of proactive carbon lowering measures. This meant the rate of underlying progress was only a quarter of what was needed to meet future carbon budgets. The report also highlighted challenges which remained across key issue areas namely: lack of investment in renewable energy and low carbon power; energy efficiency and renewable heat in buildings; and cleaner transport and travel.
 July 2011 - Adapting to climate change in the UK – Measuring progress (Adaptation Sub-Committee progress report 2011). July 2011.
The second assessment of how well the UK is prepared to deal with climate change impacts and risks. It set out a range of indicators against which the UK’s progress will be measured, and focused on three priority areas of land-use planning, managing water resources, and the design and renovation of buildings as adaptation measures.
 June 2011 - Meeting Carbon Budgets – 3rd Progress Report to Parliament
Built on the techniques developed in the first two reports, this report adjusted recorded emissions in 2010 for weather as well as macroeconomic impacts, showing that the underlying trend is one of broadly flat emissions. Analysis of the indicators meanwhile revealed mixed progress in implementing abatement measures. While emissions continued to run significantly below the first budget cap, an acceleration in the pace of emissions reduction is needed if future carbon budgets are to be achieved. The report highlights some key policies to drive this acceleration, including the Electricity Market Reform and the Green Deal.
 How well prepared is the UK for climate change? (Adaptation Sub-Committee progress report 2010). September 2010.
 Meeting Carbon Budgets – ensuring a low-carbon recovery (2nd progress report). June 2010.
This report assessed the latest emissions data and determined whether emissions reductions have occurred as a result of the recession, or, as a result of other external factors. The Government’s progress towards achieving emissions reductions in 4 key areas were Power, Buildings and Industry, Transport and Agriculture.
CBI, Director of Business Environment Neil Bentley. “We are not making fast enough progress and we need to see urgent decisions from the new government. The electricity market needs reform, and a cost-effective way must be found of persuading householders to make their homes more energy efficient”.
Friends of the Earth, Executive Director Andy Atkins “It’s extremely disturbing that, despite a similar warning from the Committee last year, the recent fall in UK emissions is mainly due to the recession. This report is further evidence of the need to build our future prosperity on safe, green foundations – a low carbon economy will create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs and increase our energy security by reducing our addiction to overseas gas and oil. “We need greater effort and ambition, starting with a Government pledge to cut UK emissions by 2020 by at least 42 per cent, as demanded by the science. It’s time for tough action on global warming.”
UK Green Building Council, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council Paul King “There’s no escaping the implications of this report – we need to up our game if we’re to meet our legally binding carbon targets. The Committee is right to highlight the importance of our built environment. We need a massive programme of refurbishment for our homes, businesses and public buildings, which will not only put us on a cost-effective fast-track to cutting carbon, it will provide much needed employment in the construction and property sector. A lot rests on the upcoming Energy Bill and Government’s plans for a ‘Green Deal’ scheme for households. It’s crucial that this scheme delivers, not just for our leaky housing stock, but also for non-residential buildings, which together are responsible for 43 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions.”
 Meeting carbon budgets – the need for a step change. October 2009.
The first annual progress report to Parliament, assessed progress made by Government in reducing emissions, the implications of the recession and ‘credit crunch’ for meeting carbon budgets. The report set out the emission reduction indicators to be used to judge progress and provided a detailed analysis of policies required to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from electricity generation, from buildings and industry, heat and transport in the years up to the end of the third carbon budget period in 2022.
Lord Nicholas Stern. “The Committee on Climate Change has produced a report which charts both the way forward in monitoring targets, emissions and policies and shows what will be required to achieve the necessary emissions reductions; it is a fine piece of work, which should be supported across the political spectrum and which will enhance the UK’s role in fostering global understanding and agreement”.
Comment Friends of the Earth, Executive Director, Andy Atkins. “The Committee is right to be concerned about Government action on climate change. The Climate Change Act is a world-class piece of legislation, but the true test is the policies put in place to deliver its goals. Crucial strategies on fossil fuels, aviation and energy infrastructure, due out shortly, will demonstrate whether or not the Government has heeded the Committee’s warnings. These National Policy Statements must clearly set out their carbon impacts and how they will deliver on the UK’s carbon budgets – failure to do so will seriously undermine the Government’s international leadership on climate change. Developing the UK’s huge renewable energy potential and slashing energy waste will bring huge economic benefits, deliver new green jobs and put Britain at the forefront of securing a safer, cleaner future for us all.”
Comment UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Chief Executive David Green. “This report makes an important contribution to the debate about how best to meet our carbon budgets. It highlights much of the good work already underway to reduce our carbon emissions but also identifies important areas where we could do much more. Building on last weeks scenarios from OFGEM, as many have been saying for some time now the scale of the challenge is huge and raises real questions about how best to deliver the action that is needed to cut emissions, whilst ensuring we have security in our energy supplies, and keeping bills affordable, particularly for the most vulnerable consumers. It is a difficult balancing act and none of us should be complacent about the huge task before us. We particularly welcome the Committee’s emphasis today on need to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings. This will be critical if we are to keep carbon emissions down, while also keeping our energy bills as low as possible.”
Comment Energy Institute, President James Smith. “This report sets the right priorities and tells us how Britain can get the energy we need for the lower carbon emissions we can afford. There is a cost but the cost of doing nothing will be higher. Retooling Britain’s energy supplies will need investment, new technology and new skills. On the bright side, it means new jobs and new opportunities for British business at home and abroad.”
Comment Greenpeace executive director John Sauven “This is exactly what our volunteers on the roof of Parliament have been saying today. We need a step change in politics to save the climate with less than 60 days until Copenhagen. We agree with Lord Stern when he said today that we need a cross-party consensus with all politicians committing to fighting for the next generation and not just the next election.”
John Sauven added: “The committee are clear that Ed Miliband urgently needs to deal with emissions from coal. With plans for Kingsnorth shelved, Miliband now has a golden opportunity to introduce tough new standards for all power stations to ensure that Britain gets on track to become a low-carbon economy.”
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders,chief executive Paul Everitt “The Committee recognises that a portfolio of technologies will deliver emissions reductions in the medium-term and that if longer-term targets are to be achieved, that incentives and an integrated approach between industry, fuel companies and government will be crucial for the uptake of electric vehicles. Industry, through the work of the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team, has established a technology roadmap and researched priorities to enable widespread delivery of ultra-low carbon transport solutions”.
EEF,Head of Climate & Environment Policy, Gareth Stace. “From insulation in homes, energy efficient products to hybrid vehicles and steel components for low-carbon energy production, manufacturing will deliver the solutions to climate change. However, the government runs the risk of undermining competitiveness of our manufacturers and the prospects of a more balanced economy if it insists that they bear much of the brunt for further action. The government must deliver on its responsibility to ensure that UK industry is able to keep up with the pace of change. It also has to ensure industry is best placed to take advantage of the opportunities available from the booming environmental goods and services markets.”
CBI,Director of Business Environment,Dr Neil Bentley. “In April the CBI published a series of roadmaps, which set out the steps needed to get the UK on track to meet our ambitious carbon reduction targets and secure our energy supply. This report echoes much of our thinking around the urgent need for a clear timetable for action on climate change. It will be the private sector that delivers the infrastructure needed to shift to a low-carbon economy. However, we have already seen cases of firms delaying investment because of uncertainty about government policy. It is up to the government to provide the right policies, and then let the market get on with delivery. We need the National Planning Statements, as well as regulatory and funding details for clean coal demonstration plants published as soon as possible, so firms can invest with confidence. Ultimately, building a low-carbon economy will require government, businesses and consumers all working together to reduce emissions.”
Energy Saving Trust,Director of Strategy,Marian Spain. “We are very supportive of the Committee on Climate Change’s call for a step change in action to make our homes more energy efficient. The one single thing that that people can do to tackle climate change can be done right now; we don’t need new technology to be created or developed. And because it will also help stop energy bills from rising it makes financial sense for many people, as well as helping to create jobs. A long term whole house approach, allowing people to reduce energy use across the board, is essential, coupled with an area based, street by street approach now. Completing the insulation of the 19.3million lofts and cavity walls in the UK which are not yet properly insulated would help to create thousands of jobs and reduce the UK’s household energy bills by £1.2 billion a year, and every future year, at today’s energy prices. Whoever undertakes this activity, whether they be a local authority, energy company or builder, the consumer needs to have trust in the information they are provided and the installers in their homes. Our research shows that 72 per cent of its customers want advice on green issues from one source, like the Energy Saving Trust.”
Green Alliance, Director, Stephen Hale. “This report is a wake up call. All parties must act on these recommendations and ramp up the level of ambition of their climate policies in order to meet the UK’s targets.”
- Achieving zero carbon.
- Carbon emissions.
- Carbon plan.
- Climate change science.
- Climate Change Levy.
- COP21 Paris 2015.
- CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.
- Energy Act.
- Emission rates.
- Energy related products regulations.
- Energy targets.
- Government net zero review 2022.
- Greenhouse gases.
- Kyoto protocol.
- LETI calls for responses to BEIS net zero review.
- Net zero carbon 2050.
- Net Zero Review underlines role for engineering services.
- Net zero strategy: build back greener.
- The Edge policy proposals for the built and natural environment 2022.
- The Low Carbon Transition Plan: National strategy for climate and energy.
- The sustainability of construction works.
- UK Climate Change Risk Assessment.
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