UK: Government Launches Low Carbon Transition Plan

The Government today published a Low Carbon Transition Plan (the Transition Plan), which sets out a route-map for the UK to meet its 2020 targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and expanding renewable energy. The plan also covers ways of maximising green economic opportunities. The aim of the Transition Plan is to enable the Government to deliver on the target to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 and a set of five-year "carbon budgets" to 2022, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.

Key Proposals

The goal of the Transition Plan is to deliver emission cuts of 18% on 2008 levels by 2020 through the implementation of the following steps:

  • Allocating carbon budgets to all major UK Government departments and requiring each department to produce its own plan.
  • Obtaining 40% of the UK's electricity from low carbon sources by 2020 through new policies: 30% of electricity is to be produced from renewables by 2020 by increasing the required amount of renewable electricity to be sold by suppliers, funding up to four Carbon Capture and Storage projects and facilitating the construction of nuclear power stations.
  • Clarifying Ofgem's remit by specifying that it should help tackle climate change and ensure security of supply.
  • Making homes greener through funds (Ł3.2 billion) to increase households' energy efficiency, installing smart meters in every home by the end of 2020, piloting "pay as you save" schemes to help people make their houses greener, introducing clean energy cash-back schemes, developing more proactive services from the Energy Saving Trust and opening a competition for towns, cities and villages to pioneer green innovation.
  • Supporting the most vulnerable through the creation of mandated social price support, the pilot of a programme to deliver green homes in low income areas, and the increase of amount of Warm Front grants so that recipients must not contribute payment to energy saving measures themselves.
  • Enabling the UK to become a centre for the green industry through the support and development of clean technologies, including offshore wind, marine energy, low carbon construction and ultra-low carbon vehicles. This includes investing in the research and development of new low carbon technologies.
  • Transforming transport through the reduction of average carbon dioxide emissions from new cars across the EU by 40% on 2007 levels, supporting new electric car projects and obtaining 10% of the UK's transport energy from sustainable renewable resources by 2020.
  • Setting up a formal framework for tackling farming emissions.
  • Setting out the Government's assessment of the energy security outlook.

Next Steps

The overall plan is to reduce carbon emissions by sector (power, homes and communities, workplaces and jobs, transport, farming and waste sustainability). The plan also deals with further action in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The Government will call for a global agreement on climate change at the UN talks in Copenhagen in December 2009. Its approach is set out in The Road to Copenhagen published in June 2009.

A further Law-Now will be issued shortly on the Government's Renewable Energy Strategy, published earlier today.

Also available via the DECC website are the following related publications:

  • Analytical Annex to the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan;
  • The UK Renewable Energy Strategy 2009 and Executive Summary;
  • The Low Carbon Industrial Strategy (LCIS);
  • The Low Carbon Transport Strategy;
  • The Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study Response to Phase 1 Consultation;
  • The Consultation on Renewable Electricity Financial Incentives;
  • The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan Emissions Projections;
  • The Frontier Economics Report; and
  • several publications in relation to the Carbon Valuation.

To access the above publications please click here.

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