Emissions cut of 3.5 per cent a year needed to tackle climate change
Feb 01, 2011 No Comments
The UK’s independent adviser on climate change has today advised the Scottish Government to cut emissions by 3.5 per cent each year from 2020 to 2050 in order to make a “fair and safe” contribution to fighting climate change.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) was asked by former Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson to recommend an emissions budget covering 2010 to 2050. The recommendations take Scottish targets aiming for a 42 per cent emissions reduction by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050 into account, suggesting the addition of an interim 60 per cent target for 2030.
In a letter to Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham, who now has responsibility for climate change following Stevenson’s departure from office, CCC chair Lord Adair Turner said that in order to achieve these targets, annual emissions reductions of three or four per cent will be necessary. Setting out how this could be achieved, he advises that the power sector will need to be “largely decarbonised” by 2030, with carbon capture and storage also in operation.
The letter also sets out where the emissions reductions might be found, estimating that improving energy efficiency of homes and buildings and using lower carbon sources of heating could cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2030, while encouraging the use of public transport, improving new car fuel efficiency and promoting electric vehicles could halve emissions by 2030.
Encouraging energy efficiency and increased use of biomass and biogas in industry could also see emissions halved by the same year. Also, agricultural emissions could be cut by 15 per cent by 2030 with increased energy efficiency and more tree planting.
The CCC estimates that achieving the climate targets is likely to cost between one and two per cent of GDP by 2050.
Commenting on the advice, Turner said that Scotland had the potential to make a “significant contribution to wider efforts to tackle climate change”.
He added: “Emissions cuts of between three and four per cent annually through to 2050 are feasible, but will require new policies. The cost of achieving emissions cuts is more than offset by the climate change and wider economic benefits.”