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Climate Committee and over 100 companies pressure UK on carbon budget

December 11th, 2013

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change has today told the British government that it should not dilute its carbon budget.

Indeed the CCC states that “if anything, changed circumstances point towards a tightening of the budget”.

And the report comes on the same day that over 100 major companies and trade bodies from – or with business interests in – the UK sent a letter to the government urging it not to tinker with emission reductions and stick to its current targets.

The companies included energy giants Alstom, Vestas, Gamesa, Dong Energy and SSE alongside household names such as Ikea, Philips, Sky, Nestle, and Pepsi and environmental groups WWF, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

The carbon budget covers the emission reduction that the UK needs to deliver over the years 2023 to 2027 to stay on track for reducing its emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050 under its Climate Change Act.

The CCC’s advice comes as part of an agreement with the government that the budget would be reviewed in 2014.

The Climate Change Act sets out the basis for the review: it must be based on advice from the CCC and only if there has been significant change in circumstances, demonstrated by evidence and analysis, can the budget be changed.

CCC chairman Lord Deben said: This report shows the clear economic benefits of acting to cut emissions through the 2020s. This provides insurance against the increased costs and risks of climate-related damage and rising energy bills that would result from an alternative approach to reduce and delay action.”

He said that “while it is essential to understand affordability and competitiveness impacts associated with the budget, the evidence suggests that these are relatively small and manageable”.  

“The government should confirm the budget as a matter of urgency. This would remove the current uncertainly and poor investment climate. It would provide a boost to the wide range of investors who stand ready to invest in low-carbon technologies.”  

Alstom’s UK president Terence Watson said: “We’re a manufacturing company. We need policy stability in order to make long term investments, as do our customers and supply chain.

“Stop-go politics threatens that investment and raises costs for everyone. That is why changing the fourth carbon budget now would be a strategic mistake – with consequences. And let’s not forget the great opportunity here: hundreds of thousands of jobs all over the country in new growth areas where the UK can take a significant market share.” 

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