12 October 2009

First Progress Report of the UK Committee on Climate Change

The UK Committee on Climate Change has issued it first progress report (here in PDF), and here is the bottom line:
Emissions reductions in recent years have been very modest. Going forward, a step change is required if carbon budgets are to be achieved.
The report also acknowledges indirectly that looking only at emissions is misleading, because it is easy to see the recent economic slump as being some sort of success in emissions reductions, however, sometimes a slump is just a slump:
Where CO2 emissions have fallen, the extent to which this has been through implementation of measures to improve energy or carbon efficiency is very limited.
In other words, nothing has really happened in the UK economy yet to accerate decarbonization the UK economy. My analysis of the policy implications of the emissions reduction targets of the UK Climate Change Act and its implications for the rate of decarbonization of the UK economy can be found in this paper.


  1. RE
    Where CO2 emissions have fallen, the extent to which this has been through implementation of measures to improve energy or carbon efficiency is very limited.
    Now why am I not surprised?
    Answer: http://ceolas.net/#cc214x

    On a general note, with this release, like the Kerry senate proposal etc you mentioned,
    there is a gearing up to the Copenhagen summit, a wish to show that politicians are 'doing something'.

    This extends to the European Commission
    (The Commission initiates legislation here in the European Union)

    See the Energy Commissioners Emission proposals on his new blog
    post "Talking about a Revolution"


    -- and comment...

  2. RE Roger report

    See easy read Html version
    Rogers UK Report

    Policy should focus less on targets and timetables for emissions reductions, and more on the process for achieving those goals, and the various steps along the way.

    Very true:
    Notice how great everyone is at setting 2050 targets!!

    My personal view as you know is of a sectoral transport/electricity focus (combined= 4/5 of emissions),
    without emission trading or carbon taxation

    (a fuel tax for example is wrong in my view in not being neutral, it should not matter what fuel is used as long as emission standards are adhered to - an example is the Georgia Tech research development of gasolene fuelled automobile carbon capture and storage that you may know about?

  3. Another reason why you are right in saying
    the focus should be on process rather than (long term) targets,

    is that it takes the shift away from the relevance of only dealing with CO2.

    Dealing with emissions should be seen as a total
    concept regarding all that the emissions contain, whatever about CO2 and its relevance
    in global warming:
    whether with automobile or power station CO2 processing, its aggressive nature gives such other benefits too.
    The cost effectiveness can obviously be compared with switching to low emission energy sources, in adherence to any emission limits that are imposed.

    On a general note,
    the British policy along with the recent Kerry proposal is obviously a manifestation of politicians willing to show they are doing something, probably in view of the upcoming Copenhagen summit.

    This is also true of a recent European Commission
    release (The European Commission initiates legislation here in the European Union)
    "Talking about a revolution"
    - the comment showing a clear ideological difference in how to proceed ;-)

  4. // excuse some repetition between #1 and #3,
    second comment was approved before the first one so thought the first one hadn't arrived ;-) //

  5. Where in that report does one find the appraisal of total social costs to date (direct and indirect) brought by policy in the form of subsidy, public expenditure and regulation in return for "very modest emissions reductions"?

    No, I couldn't find it either.

    Best estimate would be the implied cost (about 5% plus unemployment) which has been associated with the cyclical, recession produced fall in emissions.

    THe best policy on mitigation is no policy for mitigation.