UK government warned of legal action for ignoring climate watchdog
The UK government could be taken to court for failing to act on key advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) have warned.
In a report published today, the experts highlight how recommendations for low-carbon heating, carbon capture and storage, and policies for agricultural emissions have been “largely ignored”.
“The government runs the risk of a judicial review if it does not follow the policy advice of the CCC more carefully,” the report states. “Important policy recommendations have been overlooked, and a gap has opened between climate targets and the policies to deliver them.”
The CCC was created by the Climate Change Act in 2008, and provides independent advice on cutting emissions and delivering legally binding carbon budgets.
While today’s report concludes that the CCC has made a “material difference” to climate policy, it warns that the committee’s future work could be undermined by a lack of government support.
It highlights how the body was forced to reduce the size of its rented offices after its annual budget was cut by 14.7% between 2014-15 and 2016-17, while it has also suffered recruitment delays.
This is despite the CCC’s analysis being “used and trusted by stakeholders on all sides of the debate”, according to the report, with the number of advisory climate change committees growing around the world.
The report comes as the CCC prepares to receive a formal request for advice from the government this month, with the researchers warning that the UK is now in danger of missing its carbon budgets.
“An independent expert body can strengthen climate governance by introducing a long-term perspective, enhancing the credibility of climate targets and ensuring more evidence-based policymaking,” the report states.
“The basis of the CCC’s success is a careful combination of rigorous analysis and extensive stakeholder engagement, including with parliament.
“However, recent budget cuts and delays in the ministerial approval of new members could put at risk the CCC’s ability to deliver its ambitious work programme over the coming years.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM