Net Zero and UN Climate Summits: Scrutiny of Preparations for COP26 – interim report Contents

3Legislating for the Sixth Carbon Budget

32.On 9 December 2020 the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published its statutory advice on the level of the sixth carbon budget, which covers the period 2033–2037.32 If the Government accepts the recommendations within the advice, it will be the first budget to be set in line with the UK’s net zero target, which was adopted in 2019. Shortly before its publication, the CCC advised that the UK’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (outlining its emissions targets for 2030 under the Paris Agreement) be set at a level that would be in line with its advice on the sixth carbon budget.33 The Government have accepted the recommended NDC level and will legislate to set the sixth carbon budget level later this year, with a deadline to do so by June 2021.

33.In oral evidence on 19 January, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told the Committee that “there will be legislation in the summer that will seek to put into law the carbon budget six targets that were put forward by the CCC”.34 On 26 January he followed up on this in correspondence, stating that “while the Government will set the sixth carbon budget legislation in summer, this will follow careful consideration of the CCC’s advice and any representations from devolved administrations.” He added “a full impact assessment will accompany the legislation setting out the issues we have considered, including those required by the Climate Change Act 2008”.35

34.We welcome the Government’s decision to accept the CCC’s advice on the level of the UK’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution. In the year of the UK’s COP26 Presidency this sends the right signal about the Government’s commitment to domestic climate policy. However, while we acknowledge the need to fully assess the sixth budget advice, we reiterate the need for the Government to show global leadership by taking decisive action on the UK’s domestic ambitions. We recommend that the Government commit to accepting the sixth budget advice in full and lay the Statutory Instrument required to give effect to it as early as possible.

35.We further encourage the Government to follow the advice of the CCC in engaging with the public and other stakeholders early to ensure that necessarily detailed delivery plans accompany legislative targets in a timely fashion, building in the considerations of Climate Assembly UK.

32 CCC, The Sixth Carbon Budget: The UK’s path to net zero, 2020. The CCC recommended the budget be set such that UK territorial greenhouse gas emissions would have reduced 78% between 1990 and 2035.

33 CCC, Letter: Advice on the UK’s 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), 2020. The CCC’s recommendation was that the UK’s NDC incorporate a target for 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

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Published: 5 March 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement