Green MP Caroline Lucas, who sits on the UK Government’s independently regulated Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), has responded to a report published by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) on the Government’s environmental progress to date.
The report, Reducing UK emissions: 2020 progress report to Parliament, also includes advice to the Government on securing a green and resilient economy after the Covid-19 pandemic and highlights five key investment areas for the future: low-carbon and retrofit buildings; tree-planting and peatland restoration; energy networks; active transport infrastructure; and the circular economy.
According to the report, a ‘limited number of steps’ have been taken over the past year, and ‘much remains to be done’ in terms of strengthening the UK’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said: “The CCC has pointed out that Government policies do not yet match lofty Ministerial ambitions. More worryingly, it appears that the Government is not yet prepared for the honest debate with the public about the changes that we must all consider starting to make within the lifetime of this Parliament.
“From our own work on the Committee, it is clear that consumption of fast fashion and single-use plastics must be reduced, that practical low carbon home heating options must be made available at reasonable cost, and that we must be more mindful about reusing and recycling our electrical items. The climate emergency requires straight talking, strategic vision and decisive policy action. I urge the Government to up their game.”
Responding to the CCC’s annual progress report to Parliament, Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “This Government routinely boasts of its climate leadership and has set plenty of targets but this report from the CCC lays bare the true extent of the delivery gap.
“Pledges and targets will not avert catastrophic climate change - ambitious action will, but it’s been perilously absent, and time is rapidly running out. We need a clear plan for every sector of the economy, backed up with funding. According to the report, credible policies for delivery currently cover only around 20 per cent of the required reduction in emissions to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget. Now more than ever, we need urgent action rather than warm words.
“As this report makes clear, there are too many critical areas where the Government is lagging behind, like aviation demand, peatland restoration and heat pump installation, yet they must all be addressed if we are to achieve net zero emissions. It needs to move beyond the low-hanging fruit and look at the transformation of our whole economy – delivering good green jobs in the process.
“The CCC is right to focus on the Treasury as a key laggard. For too long, it’s held back on climate action and has even undermined efforts by other departments. It needs to get on board and show some leadership, not least by facing up to what’s driving the climate emergency – the obsession with endless GDP growth at all costs – and pivot towards an economic model that prioritises the wellbeing of people and the health of our planet.”