This week, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published their recommendations to the Government that the UK and the Devolved Administrations (Scotland and Wales) should raise their greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets to at least net-zero by 2050. This raised ambition is needed to ensure the UK delivers on its international commitments needed to keep global warming below 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement.
One key, consistent message made throughout the CCC’s recommendations was the fundamental role of business in the transition to a low-carbon economy. But this isn’t new news. Our members have already lead from the front, especially in the power sector which has made substantial progress towards decarbonisation. They continue to innovate, creating the technologies required to capture and store carbon and offset emissions.
However, more needs to be done, and fast. The CBI remains concerned that a lack of policy longevity, consistency and credibility is hindering progress required to support necessary technologies to commercialisation in the UK. The Government has struggled to implement strong enough policies necessary to encourage investment and enhance competition within the context of climate change.
To improve this, the CBI has created strong relationships with the CCC, ensuring they fully understand and reiterate back to Government the importance of policy consistency and credibility across central and Devolved Governments. We continue to campaign for ‘fit-for-purpose’ policies across BEIS (most recently on the Energy White Paper), DfT, MHCLG, HMT and more. Now, the aim is to encourage a fundamental shift in the way Government Departments carry out their policy work; ensuring net-zero is the central point around which we all operate.
For CBI members, this requires collective action. Businesses must now review their environmental performance and determine the steps to be taken to reduce their carbon footprint whether by investing in new technology or implementing a sustainability strategy. Bringing this discussion point into Board meetings is a good way of dealing with the challenge head on. Importantly, businesses need to continue influencing the Government into making the correct long-term policy decisions, especially around the decarbonisation of heat, electrification of transport and continued decarbonisation of power and industry.
We also need Westminster, Scottish and Welsh Governments to come together on their policy decision making processes to ensure policy consistency to enable the public and private sectors deliver on clean growth.
The world has reached a large and unavoidable crossroads on climate change. Tough decisions and leadership, from boardrooms to cabinet tables, are needed. This is the ‘space race’ of our times – the green race, towards a better future.— Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist, CBI
The CBI fully supports the CCC’s recommendations and now we are keen to see a timely, supportive response from the UK Government, to legislate for a 2050 net-zero target.
If you'd like to contribute to our response to this report, get involved here.