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Audit of UK greenhouse gas emissions to 2020

This report assesses the likelihood of achieving current targets to reduce carbon emissions and policy aims and concludes current aims are over-optimistic whilst they are based on voluntary measures.

The report provides an audit of  the UK Government’s current policies to reduce carbon emissions and the likelihood of achieving their stated targets and policy aims (to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by at least 12.5% by 2012 and 60% by 2050 compared with the baseline emissions of 1990, and to achieve a total cut in GHG emissions of ~30% by 2020).

It focuses on the carbon reduction targets of the UK Government for 2012 and 2020 and reviews the four major sectors of Energy Supply, Business, Domestic and Transport.

The major findings of the report are as follows:

  • UK GHG emission target of a 12.5% cut on the baseline levels required by the Kyoto Protocol by 2012 (~183 MtCe) could be achievable.
  • The major problem faced by Government policies is trying to reduce overall carbon emissions against a background of sustained and significant economic growth.
  • The report has assessed the likely success of each of the government policies and produced a possible range of GHG reductions for 2020 of between 29 to 17 MtCe for the four main sectors. This is significantly lower than predicted by the DEFRA Climate Change Report (2006) and DTI Climate Change Report (2006).
  • It suggests that the Government’s implied policy aim of cutting 2020 GHG emission by up to 30% compared with 1990 levels is very optimistic. The audit suggests current policies would achieve a GHG emission reduction of between ~12 and ~17% by 2020.
  • The over-riding reason for the possible failure of the current government policies to achieve their stated targets is that nearly all of them are voluntary. (The DTI Climate Change Report (2006) implied policy aim of up to ~30% GHG reduction could be achieved if current policies were mandatory and new more prescriptive future policies were developed.)

Page last modified on 23 feb 11 16:37