Azara Blog: Committee on Climate Change produces second annual report

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Date published: 2010/06/30

The BBC says:

Major changes in policy are still needed to meet climate targets despite emission cuts brought about by the recession, say government advisors.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) calls for a "step change" in power generation, insulation and transport.
The is the committee's second annual report to parliament, and follows a year in which UK greenhouse gas emissions plummeted by 8.6%, mainly due to the recession but also because of increased fossil fuel prices.

"The recession has created the illusion that progress is being made to reduce emissions," said CCC chairman Lord Adair Turner.

"Our analysis shows that this is almost wholly due to a reduction in economic activity, and not from new measures being introduced to tackle climate change.

"So we are repeating our call for new policy approaches to drive the required step change, in order that the UK can ensure a low-carbon recovery."
"We had less than 1 Gigawatt (GW) of renewable capacity added to the system in 2009," said CCC chief executive David Kennedy.

"We need in the order of 2-2.5GW added each year over the next 10 years in order to meet our carbon budget and European targets for renewables.
UK emissions are currently 26% below the 1990 level - the baseline year most commonly used national, European and global policy.

Until 2008, most of this fall was down to the "dash for gas" in the early 1990s and a halving of methane emissions.

But the significance of the recession is shown in the government's recent admission that the 8.6% fall from 2008 to 2009 was the largest single-year decline in the entire record.

The fall, said Mr Kennedy, makes it feasible for the UK to increase its 2020 target from the current 34% emission cut to 42% - the UK's projected share should the EU move from its current 20% target to 30%, as the government is urging.

The CCC is one of the thousands of useless quangos that plague the nation. Unfortunately one of their missions is to produce an annual report, and this kind of report is obviously going to focus on the year prior to which it is written. But with climate change there is no point in looking at one single year in isolation. During the boom years none of the ruling elite pointed out that emissions were really above where they would have been if only Britain had been living within its means. So when a recession happens there is no point complaining that emissions have fallen. The only sensible thing to do is look over an economic cycle (or longer). And over the economic cycle the UK is going to meet the 2020 emissions target. If that disappoints the UK ruling elite it is only because it gives them less excuse to flagellate ordinary people with punitive taxation.

(Of course the way emissions are calculated is completely bogus, since they are counted at the point of production rather than the point of consumption, so Britain and the EU have exported a huge amount of emissions to China and elsewhere. This will end soon enough because the EU is sinking down the economic ladder, thanks to the determined effort of the ruling elite, and so the EU will soon not be able to afford so many imports.)

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