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"Now do it" - CCC says UK Government must now implement policies to deliver 'net zero' requirement

Wed 10 July 2019 | Back to news list

Speaking at the launch today of the Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) 2019 Progress report to Parliament, Chief Executive Chris Stark said that the world is "currently, optimistically - at best - on track for 3 degrees Celsius warming" and that policies must urgently be implemented to ensure the net zero targets - just enshrined in UK law - can be met. The report says the surface transport sector is still the largest contributor to the UK's greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, a key area in need of intensified policy focus.

Lord Deben, speaking at the same event, said that if the UK - which hopes to host next year's vital international gathering on climate change (COP26) - is to be a credible host for the conference, it "needs to be able to show that we're doing it" in terms of policy implementation.

The new report highlighted specific areas of immediate concern, such as lack of progress on new car and van CO2 performance, EV registrations and biofuels uptake. It also lays out some specific priorities for the road transport sector in 2019/20, calling for:

  • A sales ban on conventional vehicles moved to 2030-2035 (and clarification that this means only battery electric - or other zero carbon tailpipe - emissions vehicles will be sold after that point)
  • A clearer approach to EU vehicle standards and testing
  • Stronger incentives to purchase cleaner vehicles including fiscal instruments
  • Plans for roll-out of zero emission HGVs and stretching targets for CO2 reductions
  • Schemes to support walking, cycling, public transport

It also includes as priorities for the long-term:

  • Continued development of charging infrastructure
  • A decision on future for HGVs in the 2020s
  • A 98% reduction in emissions by 2050

Other actions recommended are for a clarification of the UK regulatory approach to the EU 2020/21 new car and van CO2 targets and for the setting of stretching CO2 targets for new cars and vans beyond 2020, requiring a high electric vehicle market share. The report says that a 'real world' testing regime must be used alongside standardised tests.

The UK has legislated for net-zero emissions by 2050 and now the UK Government must show it's serious about its legal obligations to tackle and prepare for climate change.

Chris Stark said that the next year or so will critical in terms of introducing effective policies across the board (and in a joined-up way between government departments). He said: "The next 12-18 months is key to improving our policies if we're to stay credible globally".

Commenting on the Progress Report and after his attendance at the launch meeting, LowCVP's Andy Eastlake said: "Road transport was highlighted as one of the key areas of concern in terms of meeting our climate targets. We need to make real, accelerated progress in delivering effective policies over the coming period. It's vital, too, that we take people with us on this journey and that lack of awareness or understanding does not become a barrier to progress.

"As our recent Annual Conference highlighted, we must make rapid progress on the electrification of cars and vans, in particular, but we need to use 'all the tools in the box' to tackle the 'hard to electrify' applications and make immediate progress with the current fleet by ensuring that the combustion fuels we use in the short to medium-term are as low carbon as it's possible to make them."

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