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UK proposes Fourth Carbon Budget

A limit on the total amount of greenhouse gases to be emitted by the UK between 2023 to 2027 has been proposed to cut Britain’s emissions by 50% from 1990 levels.

The proposal, set out by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, is in line with advice from the independent Committee on Climate Change. It sets a fourth carbon budget of 1950 MtCO2e for the period that will span from 2023 to 2027, putting the UK on course to cut emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

The carbon budget will place the British economy at the leading edge of a new global industrial transformation, and ensure low carbon energy security and decarbonisation is achieved at least cost to the consumer.


The Prime Minister said: “When the coalition came together last year, we said we wanted this to be the greenest government ever. This is the right approach for Britain if we are to combat climate change, secure our energy supplies for the long-term and seize the economic opportunities that green industries hold.

By making this commitment, we will position the UK a leading player in the global low-carbon economy, creating significant new industries and jobs.

“The transition to a low-carbon economy is necessary, real, and global. By stepping up, showing leadership and competing with the world, the UK can prove that there need not be a tension between green and growth.”

Chris Huhne said: “Today’s announcement will give investors the certainty they need to invest in clean energy. It puts Britain at the leading edge of a new global industrial transformation as well as making good our determination that this will be the greenest government ever.

“Through the Green Deal, electricity market reform and the Green Investment Bank we’re already putting in place the tools that will help us meet this ambitious carbon budget. This and every future British Government will have to keep up the pace and put in place the most effective policies to tackle climate change.”

David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) responded to the announcement, saying: “We are delighted that Government has accepted our recommendations on the fourth carbon budget (2023-2027). This is a world first: no other country has made such an ambitious, legally binding commitment to achieving deep emission cuts in the mid-2020s.

“Setting and meeting the carbon budget will place the UK in a strong position, both in terms of meeting the 2050 target, and building an economy very well placed to prosper in a low-carbon world.

“The carbon budget will underpin much of the high level ambition set out in the Coalition Agreement. It is important now to translate this ambition into detailed policies with strong incentives.

“The key areas to focus on are the Electricity Market Reform, demonstration of CCS technology, the Green Deal, the Renewable Heat Incentive, and support for electric vehicle market development.”