The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), an advisory body to the UK government, today called for concrete action to ensure the UK can meet its climate commitments at the lowest cost possible.
The recommendations, outlined in a set of new reports, include a call for providing a route to market for the cheapest forms of low-carbon electricity generation, including onshore wind and solar, where they are locally acceptable, such as through new auctions for low-carbon contracts.
The UK has developed effective policy to support low-carbon generation through contracts for difference (CfD) allocated by competitive auctions, the committee said. However, no auctions have been held since 2015 and none are planned for the cheapest technologies, it added. According to the body, excluding these technologies increases costs for consumers.
It further said that funding for offshore wind to 2025 and the contract for the new nuclear station at Hinkley Point would provide only about a third of the additional low-carbon generation needed for the next decade.
The UK has a target of reducing its emissions by 57% by 2030 and at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990, under the Climate Change Act. Existing policies would at best deliver around half of the required emissions reduction to 2030, according to the committee.
Among other things, the body also called for a new energy efficiency programme for homes and effective roll-out of multiple low-carbon heating options.
"For too long, Government policy has neglected the UK’s ageing homes and heating systems. It is time to remedy that failure with policies that are simple, stable, and designed to work for the ordinary household," said CCC chairman Lord Deben.
The body said that while the Paris agreement is more ambitious than the UK's existing climate targets, it is not yet appropriate to set new UK targets. Rather, the priority is to meet existing targets that are already stretching.
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