On 2 May, the Committee on Climate Change will publish new advice to the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations on the UK’s long-term climate change targets. Ahead of that report, the CCC’s Chief Executive, Chris Stark, addressed the Business Green Leaders Briefing to share his observations about the ‘climate choices’ that lie ahead, the scale and feasibility of the net zero challenge, and the importance of effective governance and leadership for long-term UK climate action. In 2008, the first action of the newly-independent Committee on Climate Change was to advise on the appropriate 2050 target for emissions. At the time, there was no globally agreed temperature goal. So we judged, based on the available climate science, that an appropriate global climate objective would be 2°C, and to avoid an extreme danger threshold of 4°C. An 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050, from their 1990 level, was our best estimate of the appropriate UK contribution to that goal. We said it was “challenging but feasible” and that it carried a cost – of 1-2% of GDP – which was affordable to avoid a much greater economic cost in the future. Parliament agreed – and since then we have been advising on the best, most cost-effective route to get there under the framework of carbon budgets and government plans that are required. But a great deal has changed since 2008. The UK has signed the Paris Agreement, which expects greater ambition from developed countries – and references 1.5 degrees as a global temperature goal. Global emissions have continued to rise – making one of our 2008 scenarios for peak global emissions in 2016 look very optimistic. And other shifts have occurred too – crucially, our understanding of the path to full decarbonisation and the costs of some the key technologies.
Committee on Climate Change 19th March 2019 read more »
Chief executive of Climate Change Committee Chris Stark tells business leaders to ‘take the leap’ on decarbonisation ahead of net zero report publication. Businesses should “embrace” the low-carbon transition and start investing now to prepare for the decarbonisation of the UK’s economy, the chief executive of the government’s climate watchdog said today. Speaking at BusinessGreen’s Leader’s Briefing on Net Zero Transport, Chris Stark warned governments and businesses no longer have any choice over whether to act on climate change – the only choice on offer is when to make the investment. “It’s a choice to act now, to invest in that new paradigm of carbon-neutral economic growth, or a choice to wait, and spend more,” he said. “Very, very much more in adapting to the higher temperatures and the associated destructive climate impacts.”
Business Green 19th March 2019 read more »