New report says that the government must do more to reach net zero target

Barry White

The government must drive down energy bills and reduce climate-warming emissions by insulating more homes, a report to parliament by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) says ( They report that the government’s current insulation programme is “shocking” saying that consumers are paying £40 extra a year on bills because of previous cuts to the home renovation programme. The committee also says government must harness the Ukraine fuel crisis to push ahead with renewables. To be fair to poorer families the report says that the portion of electricity bills that pays back historic renewables should be taken off bills and absorbed by the Treasury.

The government scores better in two areas: the government’s renewable energy programme will save people £125 a year on bills by 2030 and on promoting electric cars – even though it says more charge points and more electric vans are needed.

The CCC is an independent body advising on climate policy. This report is an annual review of progress to MPs. The committee agrees that carbon-cutting policies are now in place for most sectors of the economy – but it says there’s “scant evidence” that these goals will be delivered.

The report also points out that agriculture and land use have the weakest policies, despite being vital to delivering net-zero emissions. It also criticises the government’s recently published food strategy, saying that the plan did little to address farming’s slow progress on reversing climate change, which must now be remedied in the new land use framework promised next year.

In the report’s forward, Lord Denham chair of the CCC acknowledges that when it comes to targets the UK is indeed a world leader. However, he says “that this Progress Report reveals that, despite important achievements in renewable energy and electric vehicles, the Government is failing in much of its implementation.

“Sharply rising fuel costs should have given added impetus to improving energy efficiency, yet the necessary programmes are not in place. We are still building new homes that do not meet minimum standards of efficiency and will require significant retrofitting. Not only are we waiting for the promised Future Homes Standard but there is as yet no sign of the changes in the planning system necessary to reflect Britain’s
legal obligations for climate mitigation…”

On the Whitehaven Coal mine, a decision on which is expected by 7 July, Debden said: “[This] coalmine is absolutely indefensible. Eighty per cent of the coal produced will be exported; it’s not going to contribute anything to our domestic needs. [On the international stage] it creates another example of Britain saying one thing and doing another.”

The report runs to 600 pages – three times longer than usual because instead of relying just on reported data, the committee has sought evidence on the ground of the low-carbon transition in action.

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