I wish to inform the House of the laying of the Government response to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) 2020 report on reducing UK emissions.
While covid-19 has presented immense challenges for businesses and Governments, the need for action on climate change has not diminished. The Government have been clear that we owe it to future generations to build back better and support the creation of a fairer, greener, and more resilient global economy.
The UK has already taken huge strides in bringing forward ambitious net zero policies across all sectors of the economy. We have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation since 1990, and in 2019, we became the first major economy to legislate to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
We welcome the CCC’s report and are pleased that the committee has recognised the progress we have made over the last year in establishing an appropriate policy framework to deliver our net zero ambitions.
Our response sets out the progress and the further actions we will take to deliver net zero and meet our carbon budgets. We provide specific responses to each of the CCC’s recommendations outlining how each Government Department intends to put clean growth and net zero at the heart of the economic recovery.
We will publish a comprehensive net zero strategy ahead of COP26 setting out the UK’s plan to work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2050. This will outline our vision for transitioning to a net zero economy, making the most of new growth and employment opportunities across the UK. This will build on the tens of billions of pounds that this Government have already committed to tackling climate change.
Just since March, we have announced over £3 billion to reduce emissions from the UK’s buildings; £250 million for an emergency active travel fund as part of a £2 billion package for cycling and walking within plans to boost greener, active transport; £191 million into a sustainable innovation fund; and £100 million into research, development and demonstration of direct air capture technologies, alongside £350 million into cutting emissions in heavy industry.
On 6 October, the Prime Minister announced that £160 million will be made available to increase our offshore wind capacity in order to meet the Government’s updated ambition of generating 40GW through offshore wind by 2030. This is an increase from the previous 30GW target, which means that offshore wind could produce enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030.
Our response also includes a new commitment to develop and publish a new cross-Government biomass strategy by 2022.
The significant challenges of tackling climate change will require collaboration across Government, business and civil society. We would like to reiterate our thanks to the CCC for their report and we are also grateful to the devolved Administrations for their input in outlining the actions being taken across the United Kingdom to achieve net zero.
2021 marks a hugely significant year for both domestic and global climate action. Through our COP26 and G7 presidencies, the UK will drive international co-operation in the year ahead and we will continue to press countries for more ambition to reduce emissions, build resilience, and support each other.
We will continue to work closely with the CCC, businesses, and others, to unite in delivering our ambitious economic strategy for the UK to build back better and transition to net zero by 2050.