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MPs call for action on carbon budget

The UK government must approve the country’s fifth carbon budget as a matter of urgency if investors are to have the confidence to invest in low-carbon energy sources, an influential group of MPs has said.

In its report, Setting the Fifth Carbon Budget, the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee set out a series of recommendations for how the UK should commit to meeting a 2030 target for a 57% reduction in carbon emissions compared with 1990 levels. These included incentivising a shift to cleaner sources of energy by setting a power sector carbon intensity target of 100g CO2/kWh for 2030.

“The UK can’t afford any further delays when it comes to replacing dirty power stations with cleaner forms of generation,” said Energy and Climate Change Select Committee Chair Angus MacNeil MP. “Investors need certainty and setting a decarbonisation target for the electricity sector would signal the Government’s commitment to phasing out fossil fuels.”

It noted that the fifth carbon budget, which covers the period 2028 to 2032, must be approved by 30 June 2016 as required by the Climate Change Act. However, it is thoughts ministers may try to alter the timetable due to the proximity of the deadline to the EU referendum.

Four carbon budgets have so far been set in law, covering the period up to 2027. The UK has met its commitments under the first three budgets but there are doubts over whether policies are in place to enable it to meet the fourth budget for the period 2023 to 2027.

The Committee’s report comes in the wake of the signing of the Paris agreement on climate change in New York this month by EU and other world leaders.