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Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK
14 January 2010

Miliband: UK Won't Let Up On Climate Fight

The recession will not deflect the Government’s efforts to cut carbon emissions and move to a low carbon economy, Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband said today.

Speaking as the Government formally responded to the Committee on Climate Change’s first annual report on carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act, Mr Miliband said Britain stood to gain not only from a green jobs revolution, but from measures to help people cut the amount of energy they use.

The UK is on course to over-achieve on its carbon budgets – the emissions equivalent of fiscal budgets -  with an estimated 36% cut on 1990 levels projected by 2020.

Government will not rely on the reduction in emissions brought about by the economic downturn to meet its climate targets. To reinforce this, any over-achievement in the first carbon budget due to the recession will not be carried forward to allow for higher emissions in the future.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

“The recession will not deflect the Government’s efforts to cut emissions and move to a low carbon economy. We will not let up on the fight against climate change, instead we must redouble our efforts at home and internationally so the UK emerges from the global downturn building on the opportunities and benefits a low carbon future will bring.”

Significant progress has already been made since the Low Carbon Transition Plan was published in July 2009, including in the key sectors of power generation, buildings and industry, and transport that the CCC focused on its report. Some of the key measures include -

In the power sector:

  • We have set out the world’s most ambitious plans for clean coal. There will be no new coal without carbon capture and storage.
  • We published for consultation the draft energy National Policy Statements, a key element of a reformed planning system which will speed up decisions on low carbon energy infrastructure.
  • We are working to ensure that access to the electricity grid is not a barrier to low carbon generation. Measures include introducing new grid access arrangements, a new offshore electricity transmission regime and setting out plans for a smart grid in the UK.
  • We are acting to address constraints on finance for investment in the renewable energy industry as a result of the credit crunch, including a scheme operated by the European Investment Bank that is facilitating up to £9 billion of investment and establishing Infrastructure UK to support deployment of low-carbon infrastructure.
  • We are working to ensure that the energy market framework can deliver the low-carbon investment needed to meet our targets, and will report initial findings at Budget 2010.

In homes and industry:

  • Government programmes have supported the installation of insulation in around 2 million homes in the last 18 months, and we are trialling new community-based and whole-house approaches to increase take-up.
  • We will shortly be publishing a ‘Household Energy Management Strategy’ that will set out new plans to help reduce emissions from households by 29% from 2008 levels by 2020
  • We will shortly be setting out details of our ‘clean energy cash-back’ schemes for people and businesses that generate low carbon heat and electricity.
  • We are looking at policy options to realise the significant potential for emissions reductions from small businesses.
  • We are developing new ways to encourage and support local authorities to increase their role in the transition to the low carbon economy.

To reduce emissions from transport we are:

  • Providing an incentive from 2011 to stimulate early markets in ultra-low carbon cars
  • Helping cities and regions put the necessary recharging infrastructure in place
  • Continuing to encourage the uptake of sustainable travel initiatives
  • Investing significantly in public transport
  • Supporting cycling with £140m over three years

Government is also setting an example, it is on course for reducing emissions from central Government offices by over 17% by 2011, exceeding the original target of 12.5%. It aims to save up to £300 million through energy saving measures across the public sector.

We will also shortly publish our ‘2050 Pathways’ work, identifying routes to deliver our 80% reduction target in emissions by 2050, while meeting our energy security goals.

Notes to editors:

1. The UK was the first country in the world to set legally binding carbon budgets, with the first three budgets requiring a 34% cut by 2020.

2. The five-year budgets set the trajectory to the long-term target in the Climate Change Act 2008 to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels.

3. The carbon budgets for the first three periods (2008-2012, 2013-2017 and 2018-2022) were set in law in May 2009, and require reductions of 22%, 28% and 34% respectively. The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, published in July 2009, set out the policies and measures, in all sectors of the economy, through which the budgets will be met.

4. We aim to meet the carbon budgets through domestic action alone outside the EU Emissions Trading System and, consistent with this, have set a zero limit in the non-traded sector on offsetting through international credits for the first budget period.

5. The UK`s carbon budgets will be met through collective action across Government. All departments are involved in delivering the carbon budgets, through formulating policies to reduce emissions and through reducing emissions from the public sector estate and operations.

6. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is central to the UK Government’s leadership on climate change.  We are pushing hard internationally for ambitious effective and fair action to avert the most dangerous impacts.  Through our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan we are giving householders and businesses the incentives and advice they need to cut their emissions, we are enabling the energy sector’s shift to the trinity of renewables, new nuclear and clean coal, and we are stepping up the fight against fuel poverty.