Last edited 29 Jun 2021

Emission reduction and climate change 2021 reports for Parliament published



[edit] Introduction

On 24 June 2021, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published two resources reviewing the country’s progress in reducing emissions and adapting to climate change.

[edit] Progress in reducing emissions

The 2021 progress in reducing emissions report to Parliament acknowledged the historic climate promises made by the Government in the Prime Minister’s November 2020 Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, but criticised the slow delivery of concrete policies and tangible actions.

Despite UK emissions falling to nearly 50% from their 1990 levels during the 2020 lockdown, they are expected to rebound. Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%).

While some of this change could persist (business travel may not be considered a necessity in a post-pandemic world), some levels have gone back up (car use is 20% below pre-pandemic levels, but HGV and van travel are back to pre-pandemic levels).

The CCC stresses that the relative success of decarbonising electricity must continue, but it must be matched with solid commitments to decarbonise buildings, transport, industry and agriculture.

The report states that sufficient reductions in emissions require sustained Government leadership underpinned by a strong net zero strategy including:

[edit] Progress in adapting to climate change in England

The Progress in adapting to climate change report found that progress has not been keeping up with the increasing risks facing the country. Only five of 34 sectors assessed by the CCC have shown notable progress since 2019, and no sector is scoring well in lowering its level of risk. According to the report, the National Adaptation Programme for England has not developed national preparedness for even a 2ºC rise in global temperature, let alone higher levels of warming that are possible by the end of the century. As the reality of the changing climate becomes clear, so does the required response. The Government must show it has a positive vision for a well-adapted country, with policies and regulations to address key risks.

The CCC has made 50 recommendations, including:

[edit] Additional resources

In support of the report, the CCC also published its Joint Recommendations along with a report entitled Research to review and update indicators of climate-related risks and actions in England (ADAS). This research was commissioned by the CCC to provide updated indicators (within the context of climate resilience) to inform the Adaptation Committee of the current evidence base.

[edit] Reaction

In response to the reports, Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC said, “Progress in upgrading our new build standards and enforcing them properly has fallen behind. Likewise, the Government must seize the opportunity offered by the new planning bill to deliver development and infrastructure that is compliant with net zero and resilient to climate change.”

“The Committee is right to call for the recently proposed overheating standard for new builds to be expanded to cover refurbishments of existing buildings and conversions of non-domestic buildings to residential use. 80% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 already exist, and it is therefore imperative for the future of our buildings - and for the wellbeing of those who occupy them - that swift action is taken to encourage the uptake of adaptation measures for overheating.”

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[edit] External resources

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