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The Sixth Carbon Budget and Welsh emissions targets

Call for Evidence to inform the advice to the UK Government on the Sixth Carbon Budget, and Welsh emissions targets, due to be published by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in September 2020.

Objectives of the consultation

The Sixth Carbon Budget, required under the Climate Change Act, will provide ministers with the Committee’s recommendation on the level of greenhouse gases the UK can emit during the period 2033-2037. It will set out a pathway to meeting the UK’s new net-zero emissions target in 2050.

The Call for Evidence covered five key topics:

  • Climate science and international circumstances
  • The path to the 2050 target
  • Delivering carbon budgets
  • Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and
  • Emissions reductions in key sectors of the UK economy

In addition, the Committee sought input on Wales’ third carbon budget and interim emissions targets.

The Call for Evidence closed on  5 February 2020.

Supporting papers

To download the consultation document, follow the link below.

CIBSE response

CIBSE considers that a robust 6th carbon budget and a clear plan for its implementation are essential to send a strong signal of commitment by the UK at COP26 and in following years, which would help in the global effort to address climate change. The UK needs to take very firm action to prepare for COP 26, including immediate government action to prepare the UK and also to help other countries develop their plans.

CIBSE notes that there are discrepancies between actual total GHG emissions driving climate change, and what is covered in the Climate Change Act, carbon budgets, and Paris Agreement. CIBSE recommends action to address these gaps and advocating to the international community that they should be addressed. We would recommend that the CCC gradually makes stronger and more visible advice on those emissions NOT covered in the CC Act i.e. emissions from international aviation and shipping, and “outsourced” emissions relating to processes and the production of goods elsewhere in the world, but ultimately serving the UK. 

These two areas are particularly important to demonstrate real commitment, at a crucial time when the UK is not only going to host COP26, but also embarking on post-Brexit trading relationships which could, if care is not taken, result in more trade with countries which are further from the UK (i.e. leading to higher transport emissions) and often with lower environmental and climate standards (i.e. leading to higher production emissions). It is crucial that the new trading relationships should allow progress towards national and global net zero status, not “trade at all cost”.

CIBSE believes it is unlikely that a 6th carbon budget, putting the UK on track to net zero by 2050, could be met as a single step with the 4th and 5th budgets remaining the same. Therefore, in an ideal world, the 4th and 5th carbon budgets should be revised. However, bearing in mind the resources available and the work required to do this, it may be preferable to focus on 1) setting a robust 6th carbon budget; 2) identifying which measures in that budget can be implemented now, in order to influence emissions as early as possible; 3) dedicating resources to ensure that the budgets are actually met, and policies implemented and enforced; 4) monitoring the impact of policies, gathering lessons learnt and using them to refine the effectiveness of policies and increase the chances that the 6th budget will be met.

To read the full CIBSE response follow the link below.