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Government ignores carbon emission reductions during recession

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DECC remains confident that existing plans to cut carbon emissions by 2020 will serve to achieve carbon targets, reports Envido. In its response to the first annual report from the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government accepted the committee's recommendation to effectively ignore carbon emission reductions that have been achieved as a result of the economic downturn. The energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, said that any overachievement in the first carbon budget that results from the recession will not be carried forward to allow for higher carbon emissions in the next two carbon budgets.

The first CCC report released in October last year, called for a 'step change' in the pace of UK carbon emission reductions if the UK is to meet its goal of cutting carbon emissions of 34% by 2020.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that since the publication of its Low Carbon Transition Plan last summer, it had made significant progress on a number of fronts. The UK is currently ahead of its target to cut carbon emissions 34% on 1990 levels by 2020 and expects to cut carbon emission 36% by the end of the decade.

Lord Turner recommendations to stimulate low-carbon investment

The government said that it was moving forward with proposals to ensure no new coal-fired power plants are built without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology fitted, had published National Policy Statements that would accelerate the rollout of low-carbon power projects, and was moving to increase investment in renewable power and nuclear power while addressing planning constraints.

However, the government response appears to downplay the CCC's warning that the ETS will not deliver a carbon price that is high enough to stimulate sufficient investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure.

The Chair of the CCC, Lord Turner, recommended the government to consider imposing a floor carbon price that would give energy firms greater certainty over the returns from low-carbon investments.

A spokeswoman from the DECC said the government remained confident that existing plans to lower the cap on carbon emissions from 2013 onwards would prove the most efficient means of driving up the carbon price. The government would include a review of whether or not the existing energy market framework is effectively stimulating low-carbon investment in this year's budget.

Ifti Akbar, co-Managing Director at Envido said that “Further bold policies are needed to slash UK carbon emissions. This should include improving feed-in tariff proposals to encourage more homes, businesses and communities to generate green energy, introducing a comprehensive programme to slash energy waste and setting local carbon budgets to ensure that local authorities play their full part in tackling climate change.'

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