The UK’s journey to net zero is far from half-completed.
That’s one of the worrying conclusions of the Climate Change Committee (CCC)‘s progress report, which suggests the government has been too slow to deliver on its climate promises.
With emissions expected to rebound next year, the committee notes, so far, lasting progress in cutting them has been limited in extent.
The body agrees that ‘solid’ commitments must be made to decarbonise buildings, transport, industry and agriculture.
The CCC suggests a strong net zero strategy that would include an ‘ambitious’ heat and buildings plan is urgently needed.
It also recommends a ‘net zero test’ that would ensure that all government policy is compatible with the UK’s climate targets.
Plans for the power sector, industrial decarbonisation, the North Sea, peat and energy from waste must also be strengthened, according to the CCC’s progress report.
The government is also urged to deliver on delayed plans on surface transport, aviation, hydrogen, biomass and food.
A government spokesperson said: “Any suggestion we have been slow to deliver climate action is widely off the mark. Over the past three decades, we have driven down emissions by 44%, the fastest reduction of any G7 country and set some of the most ambitious targets in the world for the future, whilst driving forward net zero globally through our COP26 presidency.
“In recent months, we have made clear, tangible progress, with record investment in wind power, a new UK Emissions Trading Scheme, £5.2 billion investment in flood and sea defences, clear plans to decarbonise heavy industry and North Sea oil and businesses pledging to become net zero by 2050 or earlier.
“Our forthcoming strategies on Heat & Buildings, Hydrogen, Transport and comprehensive Net Zero strategy this year will set out more of the very policies the CCC is calling for as we redouble our efforts to end the UK’s contribution to climate change.”