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Cut greenhouse gas emissions 34% by 2020

04 December 2008

The CCC’s published its first report 'Building a low-carbon economy' to set out the analysis underpinning planned cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and the proposed level of the first three carbon budgets covering the periods 2008-12, 2013-17 and 2018-22

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has urged the Government to commit unilaterally to reducing emissions of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the UK by at least 34% in 2020 relative to 1990 levels (21% relative to 2005). This should be increased to 42% relative to 1990 (31% relative to 2005) once a global deal to reduce emissions is achieved.

The CCC says meeting these targets is necessary to contain the threat of climate change. .

The CCC is an independent body established under the Climate Change Act to advise Government on the first legally binding carbon budgets, and to report to Parliament on the progress made in reducing carbon emissions.

RICS comments:
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors welcomed the Committee on Climate Change's inaugural report "Building a low-carbon economy - the UK's contribution to tackling climate change".

Gillian Charlesworth, RICS Director of External Affairs said: "Government is to be congratulated for setting itself one of the toughest carbon targets anywhere in the world. But setting targets is the easy part. Now we all have to deliver them. Buildings are responsible for over half of UK carbon emissions, and potentially the biggest proportion of savings. But they are notoriously difficult to tackle because of the way they are commissioned and operated. Policy must be very carefully designed to decarbonise the sector without damaging the economy.

"The UK has some of the world most innovative climate policies. But the track record on buildings is not good. Too often government doesn't realise that policy has to work with the grain of the market and not against it. Government has to bring the industry with it now. Only together can we get the right mix of regulation, incentives and support in place. Get it right and the market will do most of the work. Get it wrong and we will all be left with the bill."

ESTA comments:
With the announcement of the first ‘carbon budgets’, the UK has legally binding targets for carbon reduction for the first time. But the Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA) believes we need to learn the lessons from previous failures to hit carbon and energy efficiency targets, such as the Government’s 20% reduction in carbon emissions goal for 2010 and the commitments it made on reducing fuel poverty. ESTA believes that we need to focus on areas where substantial early savings can be made.

Professor Martin Fry, ESTA’s chairman said: “Study after study – as well as the experience of countless businesses and public sector organisations – show that carbon savings of up to 20% are typically available through the installation of cost-effective energy efficiency technologies and zero-cost energy management practices. These will also improve profitability, and in the midst of an economic downturn we need to be concentrating on measures that cut costs now and improve efficiency in the longer term.”

He added: “We can start to make significant cuts in carbon emissions today for little or no cost. Better management of energy – by business, the public sector and individuals – is good for the economy and the environment. But Government needs to highlight that message loudly and unambiguously.”

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