UK off track to meet emissions targets without urgent action

Car manufacturing was singled out as a sector where decarbonisation has stalled.

The Committee on Climate Change published its 2018 Progress Report to Parliament on 28 June, which said the UK will miss its legally binding carbon budgets in 2025 and 2030, unless swift action is taken.

It heaped particular opprobrium on the construction and car manufacturing sectors.

A rapid reduction in the UK’s emissions has been apparent since 2008. The report highlighted two notable success stories: the decarbonisation of electricity generation and emissions reductions from the waste sector.

However, certain sectors have failed to match the overall pace. Unless action is taken now, said the report’s authors, the public faces an unnecessarily expensive deal to make the shift to a low-carbon economy. Notable culprits include transport, agriculture and construction, where emissions reductions have stalled in the last five years.

While the Committee has commended the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, announced in January, it seems that – several months on – there is still a dearth of policy details to justify its ambition.


The report, Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament, presented a series of key messages to put emissions reductions on track. Prominent among these was the advice to support simple, low cost options – and dispel worries over the short-term cost of providing things like incentives for home insulation installation and woodland creation.

The report noted that the UK’s grid could safely get 60 percent of its power from wind and solar by 2030

There was also a call to commit to greater levels of regulation and enforcement on areas like construction and vehicle emissions. There should be an end to the “chopping and changing of policy” – referring to the abrupt curtailment of programmes like Zero Carbon Homes – as this creates uncertainty “which carries a real cost”.

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), said: “ADBA was also pleased to see the CCC call for the government to establish a support framework for biomethane (which it describes as ‘cost-effective and low-regret’) post-2021 and make a decision on the successor to the Renewable Heat Incentive by the end of this year.”