The UK Government’s official climate advisers have just today (10th July) published their official progress report on UK preparations for climate change. I’ve known that this was coming, and so here it finally is. The tweet below is a quick unofficial and highly accurate reflection on it issued by one of the reviewers (and now that it is out I can confirm that he is not wrong) …
Putting aside your thoughts on BREXIT, what is clear is that the existing UK Government has a remarkable gift for basically turning whatever they do to complete shit. This report is simply confirmation that when it comes to climate change it is more of the same.
There are in fact two documents, so let’s briefly review each in turn.
This report sets out the Adaptation Committee’s latest assessment of progress in preparing for climate change in England, and provides a first evaluation of the Government’s second National Adaptation Programme.
- The priority given to adaptation, including through the institutional and support framework in England, has been eroded over the past ten years.
- England is still not prepared for even a 2°C rise in global temperature, let alone more extreme levels of warming. Only a handful of sectors have plans that consider a minimum of 2°C global warming – water supply, road and rail, flood defences and flood risk planning for infrastructure.
- Many national plans and policies still lack a basic acknowledgement of long-term climate change, or make a passing mention but have no associated actions to reduce risk. This includes aspects of agriculture, the natural environment, health, other infrastructure sectors and business.
- None of the sectors assessed have yet been given top scores for reducing the risks from climate change through appropriate action.
- The UK Government must raise the profile, and strengthen the governance, of preparations for the impacts of climate change. It should ramp up resources and action on all of the urgent risks set out in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, continue to take appropriate action for those classed as less urgent (but still important), and monitor the effects on climate risk over the next five year period.
This is the Committee’s annual report to Parliament that assesses progress in reducing UK emissions over the past year. It finds that UK action to curb greenhouse gas emissions is lagging behind what is needed to meet legally-binding emissions targets. Since June 2018, Government has delivered only 1 of 25 critical policies needed to get emissions reductions back on track.
The report recommends that:
- Net-zero policy is embedded across all levels and departments of Government
- Government policies to reduce UK emissions to net zero are business-friendly
- The public are fully engaged in the UK’s net-zero transition
- The UK strongly leads international action to tackle climate change
Over the past year, the Government has delivered just 1 of 25 critical policies needed to get emissions reductions back on track.
Meanwhile, action to prepare our homes, businesses and natural environment for a warming world is less ambitious than it was ten years ago. Of 33 key sectors assessed by the Committee none show good progress when it comes to managing climate change risk.
Lord Deben, CCC Chairman, said:
“The UK is the first major economy to set a net-zero emissions target and intends to host the world’s leaders at next year’s landmark climate conference (COP26). These are historic steps forward and position the UK at the forefront of the global low-carbon transition. But international ambition does not deliver domestic action. It’s time for the Government to show it takes its responsibilities seriously. Reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, requires real action by Government now.”
Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, said:
“The UK is not ready for the impacts of climate change, even at the minimum expected level of global warming. The Government is not yet addressing adequately all of the climate risks it has itself identified as critical – including from surface water flooding and the impacts of high temperatures on health. As the UK prepares to host next year’s global climate summit, the Government has a window to demonstrate its commitment to addressing these responsibilities. Citizens, homes, workplaces and critical infrastructure must be prepared for a future with unavoidable climate impacts. The effects of climate change are already being felt in the UK.”
Climate Change progress report In The Media
Friends of the Earth’s Mike Childs said: “Theresa May keeps talking about the need for climate action, while giving the green light to fracking and more roads and runways.
“Reining in the rogue Department for Transport is crucial. Billions of pounds are being squandered on gas-guzzling developments, while trams, trains, buses and cycling are starved of investment.”
Doug Parr of Greenpeace UK said: “This is a truly brutal reality check on the government’s current progress in tackling the climate emergency. The new prime minister really must take the government’s net zero commitment and turn it into something practically meaningful.”
What Comes Next?
The current Prime Minister, like the previous one, is completely and utterly inept. Luckily she is on her way out and will soon be replaced. Unfortunately, next up is the even more inept and utterly incompetent Boris.
To put that another way, James was indeed spot on in his tweet, “We are so Fucked“.