Climate change programme will fail to deliver

The UK Government’s climate change programme is in danger of failing to deliver on its key goal, unless action is taken now, according to the findings of a new report.

The Sustainable Development Commission, the UK Government’s independent sustainable development advisor, has said today that the Government’s climate change programme is in danger of failing to deliver on its key goal, unless action is taken now.

Publishing an audit of the Programme, Commission Chairman Jonathon Porritt said: ‘Our analysis shows that the UK will fall well short of the Government’s goal for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, unless further measures are taken.

‘However, we believe the UK is likely to achieve its Kyoto target for reductions in greenhouse gases as a whole. Few other countries can claim that. It is a positive point, which we must build on in encouraging greater efforts internationally.’

The Commission says that the measures to achieve the UK Government goal, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2010, are simply not in place and the UK is unlikely to achieve even two-thirds of that reduction, and maybe less than half.

However, it adds, this is not a reason to abandon the goal, but to redouble efforts to achieve it and the report says that the government still has time to do so.

The emissions reductions from the 10 year transport plan are particularly at risk. And international air travel, not even included in the calculations or the goal, threatens to blow away all the good work in industry and other sectors.

‘These are disturbing findings. The Government must now seize the opportunity of using the energy White Paper to bring us back on track for 2010, and set us on a low-carbon path into the longer term,’ concludes Jonathon Porritt.