Response to the Sixth Carbon Budget report by the Climate Change Committee (CCC)

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) published its report on the Sixth Carbon Budget on 9 December 2021.  The report makes four key recommendations which the Government will consider before formulating the Sixth Carbon Budget.  This covers the five year period from 2033 to 2037.  The Government is legally required to produce carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act 2008 and each budget is informed by the Climate Change Committee’s reports.

In its report, the CCC recommends a pathway that requires a reduction of 78% in territorial emissions by 2035 (compared with the 1990 baseline).

The South West Infrastructure Partnership (SWIP) welcomes the work that has gone into this report and its recommendations. 

The report outlines the four key steps that are needed to achieve the reduction. These include:

  • Progressive phasing out of high carbon technologies such as vehicles and heating systems to create the market for low carbon replacements.
  • The decarbonisation of our energy supplies.
  • Reducing carbon through improved efficiencies and behavioural change.
  • A greater focus on green infrastructure through transformation of agriculture, investment in new woodlands and sustainable management of peat. 

Peter Kydd, SWIP Chair, said:

“The report outlines the bold moves that are required to achieve this reduction and SWIP welcomes the associated acceleration of ambition bringing forward the UK’s previous 80% target by nearly 15 years.  Within the South West, where a large number of councils have declared climate emergencies with a net zero target of 2030, this acceleration will be welcomed although the report shows just how challenging it is to achieve net zero by 2050, let alone 2030.

“Of particular note, is the report’s recommendation for development of a mixed energy economy with a two to three fold increase in electricity by 2050 and the use of low carbon hydrogen for applications that are difficult to electrify such as heavy transport and heat for industry. By 2050, it forecasts the demand for hydrogen will be as large as the electricity demand is today.  This increase in electricity and hydrogen will require significant investment over the next three decades and every region of the UK will be looking to capture some of this.

“Other economic opportunities arise from the replacement of domestic gas boilers with largely electric alternatives such as heat pumps. This will also require investment in energy efficiency measures, particularly in the South West where housing stock is old.

“From an infrastructure perspective, the main focus will initially be on the provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and development of more low carbon electricity, much as outlined in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan.  With greater use of low carbon hydrogen by the 2040s, the manufacture, storage and distribution of this volatile fuel will require significant thought and investment.

“The transformation of agriculture will affect the South West as demand reduces for high carbon meat and dairy products and land use changes to more emphasis on producing energy crops and planting new woodland.

“In the coming weeks, we will be studying the CCC report in more detail and its implications for the South West. This will undoubtedly inform our forthcoming workshop on co-producing an integrating route map for South West infrastructure decarbonisation, which we are holding in January.  We look forward to seeing you there.”