The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the independent body that advises the government on climate policy, has warned that the UK must ensure that economic recovery post-pandemic support the growth of low-carbon infrastructure by giving leading roles to renewables instead of propping up the carbon-intensive sectors.
According to ReNews.biz, in open letters to the UK prime minister and the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the CCC have said that reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change must be central to the UK’s financial recovery package.
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown the importance of planning well for the risks the country faces. The government must prioritise actions that reduce climate risks and avoid measures that lock-in higher emissions,” said Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC.
The open letters said that government support for carbon-intensive fossil fuel sectors needs to be contingent on them taking real and lasting action on climate change and that any new investments should be resilient to future climate risks.
The UK, which is due to co-host the next UN COP climate change summit in 2021, has set net-zero targets for 2050.
“What we are suggesting in these letters is that there are plenty of opportunities here for the UK’s economic recovery to move in line with low-carbon goals, and one of those could be to encourage more renewable electricity generation,” Mike Hemsley, the CCC’s team leader for carbon budget, told Recharge.
Hemsley welcomed the government’s commitment to increasing the UK’s offshore wind target to 40GW by 2030. “We already have the Contract for Difference auction which could start delivering those objectives from next year. However, we think there is a case that we need increased volumes and more frequency in those auctions,” he commented.
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