Climate Change and Energy

Climate Change is probably the greatest long term challenge facing the human race. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has overall responsibility for tackling climate change, but BERR has a major interest as a number of policies and measures affect the energy sector and business.

Along with Defra and the Department for Transport, BERR shares a Public Service Agreement target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with our Kyoto commitment and domestic goal (please see below).

Kyoto Commitment

The UK has a legally binding commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions of a basket of six greenhouse gases by 12.5% below 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. Latest projections show UK emissions should be around 23% below by 2010, around double our commitment.

The Climate Change Projects Office (CCPO) assist UK businesses who wish to pursue opportunities arising from the Kyoto Protocol

Domestic Climate Change Goals

The 2000 UK Climate Change Programme confirmed a domestic policy goal of moving towards a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important greenhouse gas, by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010.

The Energy White Paper 2003: Our Energy Future - Creating a Low Carbon Economy further developed the UK’s climate change policy by adopting a longer-term goal of putting the UK on a path to reduce CO2 emissions by some 60% by 2050, with real progress by 2020.

In spring 2006, following a review, the government published an updated UK Climate Change Programme. This introduced additional measures to take us close to our domestic goal and ensure that the UK can make real progress by 2020 towards the long-term goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by some 60% by about 2050. More information can be found on the Defra: The UK Climate Change Programme webpage.

Economics of Climate Change  

On 30th October 2006 Nicholas Stern published his review of the Economics of Climate Change the most comprehensive review ever carried out on this subject. The first half of the review focused on the impacts and risks arising from uncontrolled climate change and the costs and opportunities associated with action to tackle it. The second half examined the national and international policy challenges of moving to a low carbon economy. More information can be found on the HM Treasury: Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change webpage.

Climate Change Bill

On 13 March 2007 the Government published a draft Climate Change Bill. Along with an accompanying strategy, the draft Bill set out a framework for moving the UK to a low carbon economy. It also demonstrated the UK's leadership as progress continues towards establishing a post-2012 global emissions agreement.

The Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 14 November 2007. The aim is to receive Royal Assent by spring or early summer 2008. To accompany the Bill, Defra published a finalised Impact Assessment, building on the Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment published in March 2007 which formed part of the consultation package on the draft Climate Change Bill.  For more information, see the Defra: UK Legislation: taking the Climate Change Bill forward webpage.

The Energy Bill

The Energy White Paper: meeting the energy challenge published in May 2007, tackles our need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions both within the UK and abroad; and ensure we have secure, clean and affordable energy as we become increasingly dependent on imported fuel.

The Energy Bill will implement the legislative aspects of the 2007 Energy White Paper and was introduced in the House of Commons on 10 January 2008.

Energy Measures Report

Action by local authorities is critical to the achievements of the Government’s climate change and energy objectives. The Government published an Energy Measures Report on 18 September 2007 which sets out the steps that local authorities can take to address climate change and fuel poverty.