The Government has made historic climate promises in the past year, for which it deserves credit. However, it has been too slow to follow these with delivery. This defining year for the UK’s climate credentials has been marred by uncertainty and delay to a host of new climate strategies. Those that have emerged have too often missed the mark. With every month of inaction, it is harder for the UK to get on track.
The Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies. The public has not been informed or engaged in the changes that must lie ahead. There is still a window to make comprehensive plans and demonstrate leadership at home and to a global audience, but the Government is taking a high-stakes gamble to focus everything on a new Net Zero Strategy in the autumn to achieve that.
It is absolutely critical that the new strategy is published before the COP26 climate summit, with clear policy plans, backed fully by the Treasury. It must be accompanied by a commitment to prepare the country for the serious climate risks facing the UK, as the next cycle of adaptation planning begins.
In two progress reports, published today, the Committee offers its appraisal of progress on the twin climate challenges: cutting emissions to Net Zero and adapting to the climate risks facing the UK. We draw on the Committee’s comprehensive analysis of the UK’s Sixth Carbon Budget and our recent third Climate Change Risk Assessment to present more than 200 climate policy recommendations, covering every part of Government. The opportunity to implement them is there if the Government moves decisively.