Chris Stark: Last year, we gave a cautious welcome to the UK Government’s Clean Growth Strategy: a plan is now place (a notable achievement amidst the political turmoil on Brexit) but the policies do not yet match the ambition. Our June Progress Report informed Parliament that the UK is off track to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets. And our early assessment of the UK’s National Adaptation Programme revealed a plan that fails to match the scale of challenge the UK faces in adapting to the changing climate. There is clearly more to do in 2019. We offered deeper commentary on crucial policy issues: Our letter to Chris Grayling on transport decarbonisation, new scenarios for power (p69), and major reports on the role of hydrogen and biomass in a low-carbon economy, contributed to the body of evidence supporting much greater ambition by government to reduce UK emissions. Managing the coast in a changing climate became one of our most widely-read reports for some time, reflecting the strength of interest when the impacts of climate change are made real for communities. And a special mention for our land use report – one of our most challenging pieces of work – which offered an integrated assessment of how land use must change to meet the mitigation and adaptation requirements of the Climate Change Act. We now have a set of scenarios that will act as the basis for a major report on agricultural policy later this year. Our aim with the 2019 programme is to inform policy across the whole of government, especially those arms of government that have not played a lead role in the first decade of work. In early 2019, we’ll publish a report on housing, offering our assessment of the steps needed to reduce emissions from the housing stock and adapt it to the changing climate. We’ll publish new advice on aviation, as DfT finalise their aviation strategy, and we’ll make an assessment of the progress of the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme. There also will be new advice to Northern Ireland. And during the summer, we’ll make a bumper assessment of the UK’s mitigation and adaptation progress in our statutory report to Parliament. In the second half of 2019, our agriculture report is planned to provide a solid basis for the reforms to agricultural policy that are promised by Defra. Which brings us to our principal challenge in 2019: responding to the request from Ministers to consider ‘net-zero’. Ten years ago, in our first act as the newly-independent Committee on Climate Change, we advised that an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions was the appropriate 2050 target. Parliament agreed. In the decade that has followed, a great deal has changed. This is the right time to reappraise the long-term target. We intend to offer a thorough and rigorous assessment of where we stand in light of the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. It feels like a ‘crunch’ moment: our aim is the gold standard appraisal.
Climate Change Committee 11th Jan 2019 read more »