The UK is falling behind on its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions and risks a surge in carbon emissions as lockdown eases, the government’s climate advisers warn.
Ministers must act fast if the UK is to avoid a massive rebound in carbon emissions after the coronavirus crisis eases, Lord Deben, chair of the committee on climate change (CCC), which published its progress report to parliament on Thursday, said. By setting up new schemes to insulate homes, raise carbon taxes, switch to electric vehicles and improve broadband, the government could spur a green recovery to create jobs and cut emissions permanently.
The CCC found that the lack of clear leadership and direction from the prime minister was at the heart of the problem, just as the world was looking to the UK as host of the next UN climate summit.
Boris Johnson has chaired only one meeting of the cabinet committee on climate change since taking personal charge of the issue last October, with the government’s statutory advisers urging him to convene the group more often, as a matter of urgency, if the UK is to meet its 2050 net zero carbon target, which is off track.