Delivering on Carbon Budgets

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero written statement – made am ar 24 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

Earlier this week we were proud to be able to announce that we had decided to forego the option to carry forward any over-performance from the third carbon budget to the fourth carbon budget. Following that, I want to give an update on our progress on delivering against the UK's world-leading system of carbon budgets.

We are extremely proud to have met, and indeed exceeded all three of the carbon budgets to date. In 2013, the Climate Change Committee said the government was "not currently on track" to meet the third carbon budget. But our continued delivery of emissions reducing policies meant that we were in fact able to exceed the target.

When the fourth carbon budget was set in 2011 it was considered by some, including in government, to be so stretching, that a review point would be needed to see if it was actually achievable. As late as 2019, the Climate Change Committee said that "Government continues to be off track for the fourth" carbon budget. But again, with continued policy delivery, the UK is now on track to more than exceed the fourth carbon budget. And a future Minister will have to make a decision, like the one we announced earlier this week, as to whether to carry forward that over delivery.

The fifth carbon budget goes further still in reducing emissions. But since that was set, we took the decision to move to the net zero by 2050 target. That means we will have to significantly over-deliver on the fifth carbon budget. And our own plans show that we are indeed on track to over deliver yet again.

Ministers took decisions on the level of the Sixth Carbon Budget (CB6) in March 2021. This was the first net zero aligned carbon budget and so requires an even more challenging level of emissions reduction. We are still more than 8 years away from the start of the sixth carbon budget period and more 13 years away from the end of it. Despite which, we have around 300 policies in place to deliver emissions reductions required over the sixth carbon budget period, with around 200 of these having quantified savings associated with them. The most recent assessment showed that 90% of the savings required to meet the CB6 target are covered by quantified policies.

The UK has reduced emissions further and faster than any major economy, becoming the first to halve its emissions against the 1990 baseline, and we remain steadfastly committed to net zero. This is a record of which we are immensely proud, and indeed a record in which everyone in this country should feel pride.