Costs involved with decarbonising the UK’s economy to net zero have fallen in the last year, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
The organisation is scheduled to release a report next month setting out the levels of investment needed and the policies governments should pursue to drive down carbon emissions over the coming years.
Chris Stark, chief executive of the CCC, says work on the study is “coming together nicely” and that the measures set out are all “perfectly feasible”.
It’s hoped the recommendations in the report will influence Westminster’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which will establish the UK’s 2030 commitment for cutting emissions.
The NDC is expected to be published on December 12 this year, five years to the day since the Paris Agreement was signed.
Mr Stark says he hopes that will be the moment the UK Government will “step out” and demonstrate it really “means business” with regards to slashing emissions.
Speaking at the virtual All-Energy conference, he said: “We’re going to offer our recommendations on the NDC on December 9. That’s the date we’ll publish what I hope will be the most important report that the CCC has ever produced.
“Building on the work that we did last year we’re going to be plotting a course for the UK and Scotland to get all the way to net zero.
“It’s my ambition that the CCC describe in detail how we can achieve that in the next 20 to 30 years and you can expect from us in December a much clearer blueprint about those things.
“That includes how investment needs to scale up across the economy, the steps that can be implemented in practice to decarbonise every sector, as well as the costs and the benefits associated. We’re going to say how that’s going to plan out with quite a lot of certainty in some of these issues.
“Happily I can tell you that work is really coming together nicely so it’s going to be a tremendously exciting thing to publish. I’m sure it will surprise people that we think the costs have fallen for achieving net zero, even since the assessment we made last year.
“We have a much better handle on the many benefits of acting on decarbonisation and one of the things I can tell you about this transition is that it’s going to be big.”
However, there are fears that unless governments publish “credible” domestic net zero plans in the near future then it will weaken Scotland’s ability to suitably host COP26.
The international environmental conference is due to take place in Glasgow in 2021 after organisers were forced to delay the event by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Westminster and Holyrood have legally binding goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and 2045 respectively and Mr Stark says now is the time to get the ball rolling.
He added: “It’s my solemn duty to highlight the need for a domestic plan for net zero here in Scotland and across the UK. We do not have that plan just now – we’ve been promised one by ministers in Westminster and in Holyrood but so far those are just warm words.
“We are the hosts of this jamboree next year and that’s a roll we will only be able to fulfil properly if we have a credible domestic plan for reaching net zero – the action really needs to begin quickly.”
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