New stats reveal growing shortfall in government emissions targets

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

The UK now looks all but certain to miss emissions reductions targets out to 2032, new statistics out today have revealed.

And the fresh projections compiled by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirm that “projected shortfalls” against the country’s fourth and fifth carbon budgets, for the periods 2023 – 2027 and 2028 – 2032 respectively, have actually increased compared to previous estimates.

This morning BEIS released its updated energy and emissions projections report for 2018, ultimately concluding that while it was now very likely that the UK’s emissions reductions would fall within the cap for the third carbon budget, it is now thought that for the fourth carbon budget the UK will fall short by some 139 MtCO2e, an increase of around 45 MtCO2e compared to last year’s projections.

And it’s a similar story for the fifth carbon budget, with the country’s shortfall revised upwards from 196 MtCO2e to 245 MtCO2e.

While there are uncertainties in the government’s modelling that could mean policies which affect decarbonisation throughout the 2020s over deliver, their development is not as such that they can be included in the projections.

The worsening of the country’s position with regards the fourth and fifth carbon budgets means that it is now the government’s consideration that the UK will get 95% and 93% of the way there respectively.

The damning statistics come just days before the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is expected to deliver its recommendation on establishing a net zero carbon deadline, and will likely attract the ire of green pressure groups and watchdogs.

Today’s report will also shine further spotlight on the government’s Clean Growth Strategy (CGS), the document that was supposed to outline its vision for how those carbon budgets were to be met.

The CGS was scrutinised within the CCC’s annual progress report last year, which the government then responded to during last October’s Green Great Britain Week.

However Lord Deben, chairman at the CCC, was left unimpressed. At last year’s Solar & Storage Live Lord Deben slammed the government’s progress as “not good enough”, concluding that it failed to “produce the necessary steps which, by law, they have to reach”.

Curiously Lord Deben also raised the prospect of legal action being taken against the government for its lack of ambition, a prospect which becomes even more relevant given today’s statistics.

“It won’t be us that takes them to court, but I fear I will be first witness for the prosecution,” Lord Deben said at the time.